'Hazy recollection' of knifepoint robbery

PUBLISHED: 15:29 09 May 2007 | UPDATED: 22:47 28 May 2010

Duncan Riddell

Duncan Riddell

DRUG addict Duncan Riddell had only a hazy recollection of the night he robbed a March garage at knifepoint, a court heard. Wearing an improvised balaclava and high on a cocktail of drugs, Riddell held up employees at the Jet Garage in Dartford Road with

DRUG addict Duncan Riddell had only a hazy recollection of the night he robbed a March garage at knifepoint, a court heard.

Wearing an improvised balaclava and high on a cocktail of drugs, Riddell held up employees at the Jet Garage in Dartford Road with the blade and demanded cash and cigarettes.

As soon as he had carried out the robbery, which netted little over £100, 27 year-old Riddell, who has never been in trouble before, went home and confessed to his brother.

Arrested soon after, the former gas fitter, who became homeless because of his drug habit, had only a hazy recollection of what he had done - and was horrified when he found out the details, Cambridge Crown Court was told last week.

Riddell's spiralling addiction had got out of control and he had lost the job which normally funded his drugs. He told police he was desperate for money and was being threatened by a man to whom he was in debt.

The court heard Riddell, devastated at the loss of a long-term relationship due to his addiction, had reached the "lowest point" in his life when he carried out the hold-up on November 16 last year.

It was, said Mike Magee, mitigating, an act completely out of character for someone who had never troubled the law before.

Riddell had not been thinking rationally and was under the influence of heroin, crack cocaine and valium at the time.

In jail awaiting sentence, Riddell, who as a child witnessed his father's suicide and began using drugs at age 13, had a troubled history.

He had endeavoured to rid himself of drugs before but failed.

He has now cleaned up his act in prison and is determined to stay away from drugs in future.

An appeal for a suspended sentence and supervision was rejected, and Riddell was told only immediate custody was suitable for what he had done. He was jailed for three years.

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