Friday, May 14, 2010

Pictured: The moment gun-wielding robber faced 18-stone have-a-go hero... and was battered with a chair
By Chris Brooke

Man mountain Martin Richardson crashed a chair over the head of gun man Azar Sulman

Confronted by a desperate robber carrying a handgun, most of us would simply get out of the way.

But not 48-year-old Martin Richardson. He’s 18-stone and powerfully built.
What’s more, at the time of this dramatic standoff, he was in a bad mood.

As these extraordinary CCTV pictures show, raider Azar Sulman quite simply picked on the wrong guy.

Father-of-six Mr Richardson stood his ground with his hands in his pockets before attacking Sulman, 20, with a chair.

After flooring the raider, Mr Richardson used a judo move to pin him to the ground and kept him there for seven minutes until police arrived.

Judge Scott Wolstenholme praised the have-a-go hero’s ‘tremendous courage’ and awarded him £250 during Sulman’s trial at Leeds Crown Court.

The robber was sent to a young offenders’ institution for six years.

Mr Richardson, in hospital yesterday after breaking his arm in a rugby match, is being recommended for a bravery award.

He admitted he had probably been a ‘bit stupid’ in tackling the robber, but did so because he was in a ‘bad mood’ after failing to win anything in the bookmakers.

He was in his local branch of William Hill in Leeds on January 28 when Sulman rushed in.

CCTV images show him threatening the cashier with his gun. Unknown to anyone at the time, it was a replica and he was handed some cash.
Scroll down to see video

18-stone Martin Richardson swings a chair at an armed robber pointing a gun in his face during a raid at a branch of William Hill in Leeds

The burly father-of-six attacked Azar Sulman then sat on him for seven minutes while he waited for police to arrive

Mr Richardson realised what was happening and went to the door to check if there were accomplices waiting.

He then stood in the way, staring down the barrel of a gun. ‘He wanted me to open the door and kept shouting he would shoot me if I did not open it,’ he said.

‘I looked him in the eyes…he was just a few feet from me. I thought “if he shoots me he shoots me, but I am not opening the door”.

Earlier footage saw Sulman striding into the shop, brandishing a replica weapon

The frightened cashier raises his hands in terror upon being confronted with Sulman's gun

Sulman admitted three robbery charges and one attempted robbery

‘I lost it because I hate to be threatened. The adrenaline was running as I picked up the chair and smashed him twice with it, but once I had him down I started to shake because it hit home how dangerous it was.’

A former judo brown belt, he used a martial art hold to keep Sulman pinned down. He said the seven minutes waiting for police were ‘the longest of my life’.

‘To be honest I was probably a bit stupid doing what I did, but I was being threatened, as were the staff, and I wanted to stop the guy. I did, so it was worth it.’

The court heard it was Sulman’s fourth raid on the chain and the third on the same premises.

He was trying to fund a £200-a-week cannabis habit.
He admitted three robbery charges and one attempted robbery.

Trevor Wilkinson of William Hill, said Mr Richardson had done ‘fantastically well’ but pointed out to other would-be heroes ‘not everyone is built like Martin’.

Detective Inspector Neil Thompson, of West Yorkshire Police, praised Mr Richardson’s ‘courage and cool-headedness during what must have been an absolutely terrifying experience’.

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