Town centre heist lands armed robbers in prison

Alexandra Parade.

Alexandra Parade. - Credit: Mark Atherton

Two hooded Weston-super-Mare robbers who held their victims at knife-point and threatened to ‘slice them up’ have been jailed.

The pair were sentenced at Bristol Crown Court.

The pair were sentenced at Bristol Crown Court. - Credit: Archant

Oliver Beckham, of Severn Road, and Beckham Cooke, of Beaconsfield Road, targeted lone men who were walking home from a night out in Weston on June 29.

The pair, aged 20 and 19 respectively, both pleaded guilty to a count of robbery and being in possession of a bladed article.

Beckham then pleaded guilty to an additional robbery charge after he brandished a knife at a 17-year-old who was walking home from work late at night.

Cooke also admitted to two counts of having sexual activity in 2016 with a 15-year-old boy without his consent.

The pair covered half of their face with scarves and wore hoods before approaching their victims from behind, brandishing their knives.

James Haskell, prosecuting, said: “The first victim was a 19-year-old man who was walking down the High Street.

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“Beckham produced a six to eight-inch knife and thrust it into the face of the victim.

“He told him to ‘give him everything he had’ and when he only produced cigarettes and a lighter was told he was ‘lucky he did not slice him up’.”

Beckham and Cooke preyed on two other men shortly after, both in their mid-20s, who relinquished their mobile phones.

Days later on July 9, Beckham threatened a man outside of the Odeon, in The Centre, with a bread knife while he waited to be picked up after work.

He then threatened a 17-year-old boy who was walking home at 11pm from work on August 5.

Mr Haskell told the court: “The victim felt he was being followed by Beckham and two other men so quickened his pace but they stayed with him.

“He grabbed him from behind and demanded he empty his pockets.

“Another man joined them and Beckham ordered him to pat him down. The victim noticed the other man had a glass bottle in his hand and he threatened to bottle him.

The victim said in a statement: “I am extremely nervous and scared to think about finishing work.

“I no longer offer to stay late and I feel on edge when I am away from my home.”

Beckham made off with around £40.

Five days later on August 10 police officers spotted Beckham in Alexandra Parade after being tipped off that he had a knife on him.

They got out of the car and approached the defendant at which point he pulled out a machete-type weapon and shouted ‘come on then’.

Mr Haskell said: “The officers were not only scared for themselves but also for the public around them.

“They used their tasers to disarm Beckham.”

Cooke’s victim, who he sexually assaulted in a Weston park, said he ‘wished he was dead’ after the then-17-year-old blackmailed him and coerced him into a sexual act in exchange for an iPhone in 2016.

The victim agreed to meet Cooke in the park to collect the phone but when he arrived was dragged into a garage and had his trousers pulled down.

The following day Cooke wrote to the victim on Facebook threatening to tell his school friends and share their conversation if he did not meet him again.

The victim went to the park to meet him where he was pulled into a ditch and assaulted again.

When he started to cry, he was told to ‘stop being a baby’ as it was ‘only five minutes of his life’.

In a statement this year, the victim said: “When the incident occurred I was called a liar by my friends. I stopped using public transport for a year, fearing I would bump into him.

“I had no support from staff at school and I missed out on my exams as a result.

“The past year has been the worst of my life. I lost all self-esteem and I stopped looking after myself. I kept wishing I was dead.”

Judge Mark Horton, speaking to Cooke, said: “You committed two very unpleasant and deeply disturbing sexual assaults which is elevated by the blackmail and manipulation.”

Nadeem Aullybocus, defending Cooke, said his client was described as being ‘self-critical’ and ‘remorseful’ by the probation officer.

Kevin Hopper, defending for Beckham, said his client was a ‘product of his childhood’ having had a difficult upbringing.

Judge Horton condemned the ‘dangerous’ men who sought ‘very dark enjoyment in threatening, terrifying and bullying their victims’.

Cooke was given a jail sentence of six years and three months, while Beckham was handed a prison sentence of 10 years and four months.

The final four years of Beckham’s sentence will be spent on licence.

The sentencing took place at Bristol Crown Court on November 9.