Jail for teenager who just wanted “to die”

A TEENAGER who carried out botched armed robberies in stores around a Buchan village has been sentenced to 12 months detention in a young offender’s institute.

18-year-old Alan Hemsley previously appeared at Peterhead Sheriff Court on January 13, where he pleaded guilty to four offences which took place on November 14 last year in the village of New Deer. He appeared again at court last week for sentencing.

Hemsley visited the local stores carrying a knife and a wooden baton and demanding that staff give him keys to their cars, or money from the till, on Remembrance Sunday.

The court previously heard that Hemsley had carried out the offences to “get locked up” and was not attempting to deliberately hurt anyone.

He attempted to rob shop workers at two separate stores in the village, including Key Stores and Costcutter, and presenting either a knife or piece of wood at them, while demanding car keys and money. He also pled guilty to assaulting a man and presenting a knife and piece of wood at him on the village’s Main Street, and guilty to assualting a Special Constable and attempting to strike him twice with a piece of wood at the Brucklay Arms Hotel.

Defence agent for Hemsley, Gail Wiggins, said that throughout last year her client’s mental health had deteriorated and this, combined with an excessive consumption of alcohol, had caused him to be “emotionally unstable.”

She also said he had been an “exemplary” person to deal with during proceedings and was a first offender.

“My client acknowledges that these are serious offences which bring him here, and he is deeply remorseful and extremely apologetic,” she said.

“He is fully aware of how frightened these people would have been and has displayed victim empathy. I would say that although the offences took place during the Remembrance Day parade, my client was nowhere near the church at the time,” she said.

Sentencing Hemsley, Sheriff Marysia Lewis said she accepted that Hemsley “deeply regrets” his actions.

“You are fully aware of the gravity of offending. However, these offences are unpleasant and did cause stress and alarm to the victims,” she said.

The court previously heard that members of staff in the two local stores had recognised Hemsley and did not feel in danger, but felt intimidated by him.

He told one shop worker, when they refused to give up their car keys or money, that he “wanted locked up” and was doing this in an attempt to get taken away.

After entering the Brucklay Arms Hotel some time later with the knife and baton in hand, Hemsley was cornered by members of staff and then police officers asked him to put down the weapons.

Officers had to use CS spray after Hemsley attempted to strike one constable on the head with the baton.

Procurator fiscal David Thorburn told the court that Hemsley had later said to police, “I just want to die.”