St Albans man jailed for armed robbery in London Colney

PUBLISHED: 13:36 14 August 2009 | UPDATED: 14:22 06 May 2010

FOUR young people chilling out in a car in London Colney late at night were confronted by a man armed with a gun. Daniel O Diffley, 21, approached the four friends, who were sitting in a Renault Clio by a scout hut in Chicken Lane at five past midnight,

FOUR young people "chilling out" in a car in London Colney late at night were confronted by a man armed with a gun.

Daniel O'Diffley, 21, approached the four friends, who were sitting in a Renault Clio by a scout hut in Chicken Lane at five past midnight, and asked for a cigarette.

One of the passengers gave him a cigarette and he then produced a gun and pressed it into the face of the driver, 18-year-old Graeme Flanagan, St Albans crown court heard today.

Prosecutor Neil King said Mr Flanagan was to say how his heart "skipped a beat" as O'Diffley said: "Empty your pockets. Give me everything you have got."

Mr Flanagan's girlfriend Iris Stockley, 18, gave him a £5 note but O'Diffley said: "You must have more than that."

He then heard the gun being cocked and was "terrified for his life", said Mr King.

O'Diffley walked away, but was arrested the next day, December 17 last year, after the gun was recovered from a friend's house. It turned out to be a gas-powered metal BB pellet gun.

Then on February 15 O'Diffley attacked a 30-year-old woman he had just had consensual sex with at a house in St Albans. She was slapped around the face and lost consciousness. She ended up covered in blood with bruises to her face and eye socket.

O'Diffley of Drakes Drive, St Albans appeared for sentence having pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm, robbery and causing actual bodily harm. He also admitted breaching his bail.

Defence barrister Amanda Bailey said it was fortunate the robbery was short-lived, lasting less than a minute. She said O'Diffley was supported by his father and uncle who were determined to make sure he got his life back on track.

Judge Michael Baker QC jailed him for a total of six-and-a-half years. He said: "The four young people were chilling out in a secluded area. You appeared with a gas-powered pellet gun . This was a terrifying experience, particularly when they heard the gun being cocked. All you got was a fiver and a cigarette.

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