The owner of an antiques centre has praised the judge who gave maximum jail terms to four men who raided his shop armed with axes.
Ricky Fry, 26, of Hill Street, Rugby; Jadiel Williams, 26, of Duddeston Manor Road, Birmingham; Eric Scott, 19, of no fixed abode; and Daniel Large, 25, of Hurlingham Road, Market Harborough were jailed for a combined total of almost 19 years for the raid on Rutland Antiques Centre in Uppingham.
The four men pleaded guilty to attempted robbery and possession of an offensive weapon and were sentenced at Leicester Crown Court on Thursday last week.
David Malpas and his wife Becky were in their shop when the men burst in wearing balaclavas and wielding axes on April 19.
One of the men brought his axe down on the counter, sending glass flying and terrifying customers.
But the shop owners did not back down. David grabbed an engineer’s ruler to defend himself while Becky threw a painting at the intruders before spraying them with red dye.
This helped police identify the men when they were later caught and arrested in Warwickshire that same day.
Speaking this week, Mr Malpas said: “It’s closure. It’s finished.
“We are very pleased at the result. I think the judge was very good to give them their maximum sentence. We would have been extremely upset if they had got a lenient sentence.”
Fry was given four years and eight months imprisonment, Large was given four years and eight months imprisonment, Williams was given five years and three months imprisonment and Scott was given five years and three months in imprisonment.
The court heard that although they did not steal anything the shop was full of people, including children, at the time of the raid.
Mr Malpas spoke of his anger shortly after the raid, saying: “My reaction was absolute and total anger. Hence why I rushed him.
“We have got a shop full of people and kids, my wife, my stock - you are not doing this’.”
But following the sentencing the couple now hope to get back to normal.
“It’s just a shame the whole thing happened,” said Mr Malpas. It was very traumatic. It’s something you don’t want to go through ever again, but life goes on.
“You can’t let these people beat you and you’ve got to move forward.”
After the sentencing Det Sgt 1683 Dave Speight of the serious crime team said: “This was a frightening incident for all the staff and customers.
“The owners of the shop had no regard for their own safety and tackled the defendants, one of the owners of the shop managed to spray the defendants with red paint to stop them from stealing items from the shop and harming others.
“They showed immense bravery during the incident and witnesses were able to provide detailed information for the suspects and the vehicles they used to get away which resulted in four arrests within hours of the incident taking place.”