Taxi driver robbed at knife point

Anthony Morris.
Anthony Morris.

A man held a fake gun to a visitor’s heart during a Mansfield street robbery - then put a knife on a cabbie’s throat within days.

The two incidents led to a seven-year prison term for Javan Tennant, who had been staying in a Mansfield flat at the time. He was sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court.

Javan Tennant.

Javan Tennant.

Referring to the imitation gun incident, Judge Timothy Spencer QC told him: “I don’t know what madness overcame you. “The return must have been a used mobile phone and £80 in cash.” Tennant, 32, replied: “Not even that.”

During the second robbery, Tennant was with Anthony Morris, 37, who admitted the offence and was jailed for three years.

Gordon Aspden, prosecuting, said the first robbery took place after a man left a friend’s house in Mansfield at about 11pm on July 3, before realising he was lost. He began to use his mobile phone to get help. He was approached by Tennant and a second man who has never been identified.

“Tennant asked him for a cigarette and he gave him a cigarette while holding his mobile phone to his ear by his shoulder. He walked away a short distance and Mr Tennant asked for a light.

“He handed him a lighter and Mr Tennant pulled out a black metal imitation firearm, a very realistic one.

“He put it against his heart and demanded he hand over his wallet and phone. Not surprisingly, he takes it out and Mr Tennant grabbed it,” said Mr Aspden.

The two men walked off and their victim did not stop running for ten minutes until he found a police car and raised the alarm.

Tennant was traced and an imitation gun was found. An expert said it would have fired plastic bullets which would have caused “no more than a trivial injury.”

The second Mansfield robbery took place at 2.40am on July 7 after a taxi driver picked up Tennant and Morris, who are both homeless. After the trip, he asked for his £8 fare.

Tennant knelt on the passenger seat and showed a knife, saying: “Give us your money or I am going to stab you.” The pair got away with £71 and a packet of cigarettes.

Mr Aspden added: “The taxi driver believed he could have been stabbed and possibly killed. He feels extremely frustrated.”

David Outterside, for Tennant, said he promptly admitted the offences. “His record is unattractive and there is a history of drugs. He was clean at the time of the offences.

“He is plainly struggling to a life without drugs and this is rather a sad story. In his own words, ‘drugs or no, no excuse for the offence,’” added Mr Outterside.

Sarah Munro, who represented Morris, said he started taking drugs 20 years ago. He quickly pleaded guilty to the knifepoint robbery.

“He readily accepts stupidly he joined in. He got out of the last sentence in May and realised he would be homeless,” she said.

While in custody, Morris had been taking GCSEs and is also studying to be a plumber. He hopes to enter “a therapeutic prison” to end his drugs problem, added Miss Munro.