Two armed robbers – including the son of radical Islamic cleric Abu Hamza – who were filmed carrying out a smash and grab raid at a jewellery store in Norfolk by a daily newspaper reporter have been jailed.
Eastern Daily Press reporter David Blackmore caught the crime on camera in 31 January when he was on his way to pay his car tax in Kings Lynn on a day off form work.
Yesterday, a jury found Hamza’s son Imran Mostafa and 17-year-old Jonathon Abdul guilty of robbery and possessing a firearm. Two other men, Ossama Hamed Ahmed Ahmed had already pleaded guilty to the same charges.
During the raid, in which £83,000 worth of gems were stolen, Blackmore photographed the robbers as they fled the scene, with pictures later appearing on the following day’s front page. He also recorded video footage.
He told Press Gazette: “Because of where my office is based, I didn’t get to cover the trial which was a shame. Whenever I read any of the stories from the trial, it just took me back to that moment all those months ago when I was just stood there watching it happen in front of my eyes.
“The same thing happens whenever I walk down that street now, I can just see it happening right in front of me all over again. It’s one of those things that will be imprinted on my mind forever I think. Sort of like how I remember where I was when I heard Princess Diana had died.”
After the incident he wrote about his experience on his blog: ‘Strolling along Norfolk Street just before 10am to go to the Post Office to pay my road tax, I never in a million years could have predicted the situation I was about to find myself in.
‘Just as I reached the Post Office, I noticed a silver Mercedes pull up outside Francis Wain jewellery shop and the driver put on his hazard lights…. Then in the blink of an eye, a gang of men in white hooded tops raced out of the vehicle and started smashing glass with sledgehammers before stealing items from the shop.
‘For about 10 seconds, I was quite literally frozen to the spot as the usually busy shopping street began to empty with people either running away screaming or diving into the closest shop to hide.”
He added: ‘The next thing I knew, the men were clambering back into the vehicle with their pockets loaded with jewellery, the driver put his foot down on the gas and headed straight towards me.
‘Thankfully, I managed to dive for cover as the vehicle sped off towards Austin Street. The silver Mercedes was later found in nearby North Lynn. I was absolutely stunned and just looked around in utter disbelief as people slowly emerged from the shops they had raced into moments earlier. I then heard police sirens in the distance as the shop’s shutters kicked into life and came down and Norfolk Street returned to its normal busy self.”
Blackmore described it as an ‘extraordinary couple of minutes”, adding: ‘It is not every day you see something as horrific as this and I’m sure I will remember what happened today for a long time to come.”