A man has admitted taking part in a knifepoint robbery at a Chinese takeaway premises.

But Brian Stevenson claims that he only committed the offence, in February, “under duress”.

The 36-year-old defendant appeared at a Durham Crown Court plea hearing, via video link from the city’s nearby prison yesterday (Monday, March 18).

He admitted the charge of robbery, taking a quantity of cash from a woman at Beverly Way Dynasty takeaway, in Peterlee.

Stevenson also admitted possessing an offensive weapon, a knife, during the incident on Thursday, February 15.

The Northern Echo:

Tony Davis, representing the defendant, said he would put forward a basis of plea that his client accepts “doing the act”, but at a time that he was, “under considerable duress”.

Mr Davis said the prosecution may have a view as to whether or not that basis was acceptable, but he was aware “the custody threshold” has been passed.

The Northern Echo:

Judge Jo Kidd said she had “reminded” herself of some of the defendant’s antecedent history, which includes offences of affray, knife possession, “lots of offences involving cars”, and an attempted robbery in 2015.

She said she would not require the assistance of a pre-sentence report given the defendant’s offending history.

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Judge Kidd told Stevenson she would remand him to remain in custody pending the sentencing hearing, which will be listed at a later date, yet to be fixed.

A co-accused of Stevenson, who is alleged to have also taken part in the offence, is to appear before the court facing the same robbery charge later this week, having failed to appear via video link for a plea hearing in his case today.

Judge Kidd said given his non-attendance over the video link, she ordered him to be brought from HMP Hull, where the 45-year-old defendant has been held on remand, to appear at the court in person.