Shopkeeper who fended off knife-wielding robber says he’s no hero and concerned for offender’s family

A shopkeeper who fended off a knife-wielding robber said he is “no hero” and is concerned for the well-being of the offender’s family.

Lee Anthony Brown [feature picture], 35, was found guilty of armed robbery and sentenced to 10 years in prison at Woolwich Crown Court.

The court heard how Brown had attacked Shanmuganathan Kavaraj in the Erith Mini Market shop with a knife after he had been refused service.

Mr Kavaraj managed to overpower Brown and disarm him. The Alford Road shopkeeper said: “I don’t know what to say. I’m no hero. I was trapped and there is not a lot of space by the till, so I just defended myself.

“I’m worried for the man. I hear he has a family. I hope they are OK.”

Erith Mini Market shop targeted by knife-wielding thugs

Woolwich Crown Court heard that Brown had entered the shop looking to buy some alcohol.

He was refused service as the store’s licence does not allow alcohol to be served before 7am.

After being refused, Brown and an unknown man picked up some cans of beer and left the store without paying.

A few minutes later Brown came back and opened the perspex door to gain access to the area behind the till.

He said to Mr Kavaraj:“Come out, I need to get to the till.”

Brown then tried to punch the victim in the head.

Mr Kavaraj said: “I hit the panic button. I was scared he was going to keep going, so I picked up a bottle and hit him with it.”

After a short struggle Brown left the store without taking anything. But Brown returned again a short while later.

Mr Kavaraj said: “He had a big knife. It [the blade] must have been around five or six inches long.” Brown gained access to the till area again. He lunged at Mr Kavaraj with the knife. The shopkeeper managed to dodge the attack and then started tussling with Brown.

He managed to get the knife off him before Brown turned and ran out of the shop. Police arrived and took samples of DNA from the store.

They identified Brown and, following an search, Brown was spotted in the streets. The suspect fled. Officers chased him down and arrested him.

Brown pleaded guilty to armed robbery and possession of an offensive weapon. He was sentenced on August 24.

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