A WOULD-BE robber demanded money from his victim before striking him as he tried to flee.

Gareth James Yeoman, who was armed with a flat-headed screw driver at the time of the incident, was jailed for a total of three years and six months.

Durham Crown Court heard that 21-year-old Yeoman was known to his victim.

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Peter Sabiston, prosecuting, said the 24-year-old man was with his girlfriend in Bishop Auckland, on Sunday, September 30 last year when the incident took place. 

As the couple headed for Beaumont Street in Bishop Auckland, a man approached them saying his friend wanted money from him.

They ran down an alley way and were confronted by Yeoman, with the screw driver in hand, who told the man: “Money, now!”

He then struck him three times about the head, but when the victim’s girlfriend intervened, distracting Yeoman, it enabled her injured boyfriend to get to his feet and flee the scene.

Mr Sabiston added that the victim was taken to hospital for treatment for the head injuries which were ‘glued’.

Yeoman, of Sycamore Gardens, Crook, was subsequently arrested and denied attempted robbery at a plea hearing at the court on December 21.

A trial was fixed to start this week, but on the day it was scheduled to start (Wednesday, January 30), defence barrister, Jamie Adams, asked for the charge to be put again to Yeoman, and he pleaded ‘guilty’.

But, Judge Simon Hickey told him it limited the credit he would receive, in terms of sentence reduction, given the late stage at which the admission was made.

The court heard that since the incident Yeoman has been serving a 22-week sentence, imposed by South Durham magistrates in October after he admitted burglary at a vehicle repair centre in Spennymoor, and breaching a previous suspended sentence.

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