Shop worker branded hero after tackling gun-wielding robber
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A shop worker is being hailed as a hero after courageously tackling a gun-wielding robber during a series of offences in Leeds.
The assailant stormed into a One Stop store, armed with what appeared to be a handgun as he violently threatened a member of staff at the counter.
However, the heroic Niall Stranix, who had just been mopping the floor, took no time in leaping to action and ended up saving the day.
Out on a crime spree, Stewart wound up in the corner shop, nearby Chandos Gardens, as he demanded money from the cashier.
The offender was masked and carrying a handgun when 61-year-old Stranix made the brave move in putting the violence to an end.
Without any hesitation, the shop worker 'pounced' on the robber and 'grabbed him in a headlock'.
In the scuffle, Stewart fought back against Stranix and struck him on the head with a bottle resulting in two cuts.
"But," the police department report, "Mr Stranix held onto him during an intense struggle despite knowing the robber was still holding the gun."
During the heated struggle, the gunman's pistol had 'started to break apart' and was later believed to have been a prop 'plastic BB gun'.
Throughout the encounter, the 37-year-old robber's mask began to slip and his face was instantly revealed to the shop’s CCTV cameras which is what eventually led officers to identify the suspect.
The end of the footage shows Stewart fleeing the scene 'empty-handed' in a hijacked vehicle while Stranix was 'still in pursuit'.
Officials were able to locate the criminal and arrested him a few months later (29 September).
Stewart was charged with 'four counts of robbery, one of attempted robbery; five counts of possession of a firearm while committing a robbery, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, driving while disqualified and driving without insurance' for his 20-minute crime tirade.
The robber pleaded guilty to all the offences after appearing at Leeds Crown Court the following month (28 October).
Stewart has since been issued 'an extended sentence of ten years and four months imprisonment with an extended licence period of five years' yesterday (17 April).
Detective Inspector Ryan Malyk, of Leeds District CID, said: "Stewart put all these victims through some really frightening experiences when he carried out these robberies over a very short space of time.
"He was clearly desperate and dangerous, and those who encountered him were put in genuine fear when he confronted them at gunpoint."
The detective went on to advise members of the public in such situation's to 'think of their safety first'.
However, the official noted: "We must recognise the incredible bravery that Niall Stranix showed in making the decision to tackle him while he was threatening his female colleague.
"Despite not knowing if the gun he was holding was real or not, he showed tremendous courage in taking him on and it was his actions that directly led to Stewart’s face being captured on CCTV and him being identified as the suspect."
Malyk concluded: "We hope that the significant prison sentence that Stewart has received will provide some comfort to all the victims as well as some reassurance to the wider community to know that he is safely off the streets."