Have-a-go-hero award for chasing knife raider

Cresta Gems heanor, John Phillis with carl Otterwell who chased after the thief.
Cresta Gems heanor, John Phillis with carl Otterwell who chased after the thief.
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THE BRAVERY of a Loscoe have-a-go-hero has led to a dangerous armed robber being jailed

Hero Carl Ottewell, from Loscoe, was shopping in the Cresta Gems jewellers on Ray Street, Heanor, on Saturday, February 19, when he saw a robber threaten staff with a knife before the man fled with a £1,100 necklace.

The self-employed plumbing and heating engineer gave chase before giving vital information to police which resulted in the criminal’s arrest.

This week Nicholas Butcher, 26, from Stanley Court, in Eastwood, was jailed for three-and-a-half years in total for armed robbery and for possessing a knife.

Mr Ottewell, 42, was commended by the court and awarded £250 for his bravery.

Sentencing Butcher at Derby Court on Thursday, March 17, Judge Ebrahim Mooncey said: “Robberies of small shops are a serious matter as they are more vulnerable than some of the bigger ones.

“It has to be a custodial sentence to protect people like that.”

Mr Ottewell had been in the shop with his sister Sharon to buy a chain for their mother who is ill.

When he spotted the raider pulling a six inch blade on Cresta Gems staff, Mr Ottewell gave chase.

Mr Ottewell cornered the robber outside of the Market Hotel on Derby Road. The raider lunged at him with the knife but the brave plumber continued his pursuit, following Butcher along Johnson Avenue.

Mr Ottewell was unable to call police at the time as he had taken off his coat containing his mobile phone before giving chase.

But the plumber carried on the chase, heading to friend, Kevin Aslam’s house and commandeering his work van to continue the pursuit.

The pair spotted Butcher crossing fields near Langley Mill before they headed back to the Cresta Gems shop where they told police of the robber’s location.

Butcher was caught within minutes because police recognised a ‘distinctive tattoo’ on his hand described by witnesses.

Brave Mr Ottewell said this week: “It is just one of those things, I would do it again definitely.

“You just don’t think when your adrenaline gets pumping.

“I happened to chase him down past my friend Kevin’s house and banged on his window.

“I told him, ‘I need your help, I need the van, you will just have to trust me,’ I just wanted to get back to the shop and tell the police where he was.

“Kevin was shocked but he was brilliant in the end.”

Shop manager of Cresta Gems, John Phyllis, 49, was there on the day. He said the robber had tried on several items of jewellery before deciding to take the gold necklace.

As Mr Phyllis thought Butcher looked suspicious he had already triggered an automatic locking system in an attempt to stop the robber from fleeing. But Butcher brandished a knife at Mr Phyliss and a fellow staff member before breaking the locks on the door to make his escape.

This week, Mr Phyllis, of Heanor, said the shop are a lot more aware of potential thieves, adding that the ordeal left himself and staff member Wendy Mitchell shaken up.

He said : “It happened so fast at the time it didn’t really sink in. After a week or so it started to.

“For a couple of weeks after it was a little bit daunting but you just have to get back into the routine of things and get on with it.

Robber Butcher was given credit for indicating a guilty plea at the earliest occasion.

Dean Bower, in mitigation, said that Butcher had made a full admissions to the police and said he would like to apologise to the shop assistant he threatened.