Woman fought off vicious thug at Sainsbury’s cashpoint

A TERRIFIED woman was forced to fight off her attacker after he appeared from the shadows with a knife at a supermarket cashpoint.

John Davis was lying in wait for his victim to appear – but had no idea of the fight she was about to put up as he launched a vicious attack on her while demanding cash.

Preston Crown Court heard how serial criminal Davis pounced on his victim in January last year at the Sainsbury’s cashpoint in Colne.

But rather than give in to the thug, his victim fought back – lashing out and managing to get traces of his DNA under her fingernails.

The victim escaped but Davis, of Argyll Street, followed her to the back of the supermarket before throwing her to the ground and attempting to kick her head.

The 41-year-old finally fled when a store worker heard noises coming from outside. He discarded a face covering from which more of his DNA was recovered.

Mr Recorder Michael Maher said: “To coin a phrase, you got more than you bargained for with your victim. She showed tremendous courage and steel in fighting you off.

“It was that courage that resulted in your DNA being trapped underneath her fingernails.

“She broke free and ran towards the rear of the store where she believed she would be safe.

“But you just wouldn’t give up. You pursued her, grabbed her and pulled her to the floor, still demanding money. You tried to kick her in the head. But while you would not give up, your victim would not give in. She kept lashing out to defend herself and tried to kick you in the groin.

“Mercifully, her pleas for help were answered by a member of staff and you scuttled away, though you dropped a face covering during your attack and cellular matter was recovered.

“Fortunately, her injuries – the cuts and grazes, were relatively minor though it was a terrifying situation for her. She has small scars as a result of the attack – a reminder of the terror she suffered at your hands.”

The court heard when Davis was first arrested, he made out like he knew the woman from ‘selling stolen food to her’ in a bid to explain away the DNA evidence from recovered under her fingernails.

Davis has a long history of violent offending, which includes attacks on prison officers and fellow inmates during time previously spent in custody.

Twice he was convicted for throwing boiling cups of tea or water at others while in prison and in a third he attack an inmate with a pool cue.

In mitigation, Mark Stuart said the defendant had mental health problems and had spent several years in and out of hospital.

Mr Maher concluded: “When I look at this offence I have to consider if your mental health impaired your ability to exercise judgement and make rational choices.

“There is nothing before me to support any contention that a hospital order is appropriate in your case.”

Deeming Davis a dangerous offender, Mr Recorder Maher said: “I am fortified in the decision I have come to by the opinion of the author of the pre-sentence report, who says you pose a very high risk of serious harm to the public. She considers that risk to be imminent in the community.

“The author also points out that at the time of these offences you were living in supported accommodation for people with mental health problems.

“You were in receipt of benefits and compared to the existence of being in special hospitals you had a relatively stable and supported lifestyle.

“Despite this specialist assistance you returned to your previous criminal behaviour.”

Davis was jailed for a total of 10 years made up of seven years in custody and three on licence.

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