MIDDLESBROUGH: A “physically imposing” robber who claimed he had a gun before violently attacking two shopkeepers is now behind bars and facing deportation after his jail term.
Melusi Marozwa, originally from Zimbabwe, demanded money from one corner shop owner, before thumping him repeatedly in the face and chest in front of his two daughters, aged 21 and 12.
Marozwa, 24, was arrested but assaulted a police officer when he was told he wouldn’t be granted bail after the attack at the Mellor Street shop in Newtown, Stockton, on March 22 last year.
But he was later freed, and in June approached another shop, the Usman store on Yarm Lane, Stockton. He again claimed he had a gun and demanded money.
The manager refused to hand any over – and was then helped by have-a-go-hero Stephen Broadbent, who grappled with Marozwa and got him out of the shop.
Judge Howard Crowson commended Broadbent for his bravery and “dogged spirit” while sentencing Marozwa at Teeside Crown Court, awarding him £100 from central funds as a reward.
Marozwa was jailed for six years for the two robberies – and given an unlimited restraining order barring him from returning to the two shops.
Mohammed Anwar, 56, was attacked in daylight and saw Marozwa make off with £120 cash from the Mellor Street shop.
His wife Rohsana, who has run the business with her husband for 30 years, said: “This has taken too long. He tormented us for months after he did this, he would wait outside the shop.
“My daughters had to see their father bleeding. My 21-year-old daughter told him to get off and gave him money. He told her he had a gun.”
Adnan Rabani, 21, manager of the Usman store, said: “I think six years is a good sentence. I had some injuries from him punching me, but I am glad it is sorted now.
“The man who helped me is a regular. I would like to say thank you to him.”
Likely to be deported
Marozwa, of Dunmail Road, Stockton, had a 15-inch metal bar in his pocket during the June robbery.
A metal bar was also found abandoned outside the Mellor Street shop after Anwar was attacked.
Sentencing had been suspended for psychiatric reports to be prepared for Marozwa, who had admitted the offences.
He suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and had been sectioned for nearly a year at Middlesbrough’s Roseberry Park between 2013 and 2014.
But the report said that at the time of the robberies, Marozwa was “well, and in control of his actions”.
Glenn Currasco, mitigating, told the court it was likely Marozwa would be deported to Zimbabwe at the end of his sentence.
Currasco said that mental illness “could not be discounted as a factor” on Marozwa’s behaviour, calling the crimes “opportunistic” and pointing to the fact he had never been before the courts.
He said: “He may be a physically imposing young man, but with respect to his maturity, he is much younger than his age.”
Judge Crowson also imposed a three-month jail sentence, to run concurrently, for the assault on a police officer.