‘Deport the knifeman who threatened me in my shop’, says Spalding antiques dealer

John Mumford, with his National Service medal at Spalding Antiques, has called for knifeman Viktors Lahs to be departed after he pleaded guilty to threatening him in the shop last September.  Photo by Tim Wilson.  SG280915-144TW.
John Mumford, with his National Service medal at Spalding Antiques, has called for knifeman Viktors Lahs to be departed after he pleaded guilty to threatening him in the shop last September. Photo by Tim Wilson. SG280915-144TW.
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  • Town trader unhappy with jail term for man’s ‘act of desperation’ crime
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John Mumford (78), owner of Spalding Antiques in Abbey Path, claimed that the two-and-a-half year prison sentence handed down to Viktors Lahs (30) by a judge at Lincoln Crown Court “isn’t enough”.

Two and a half years isn’t enough as he’s been kept in custody since September 2017, he’d already pleaded guilty to a judge twice and his sentence would have been reduced because he pleaded guilty

John Mumford (78), owner of Spalding Antiques, Abbey Path, Spalding

Lahs, of no fixed address, was jailed after he admitted charges of assault with intent to rob and possession of a bladed article in connection with the incident on September 12, 2017.

Mr Mumford said: “It did frighten me when he grabbed me by the neck and held a knife against my chest while I was sitting down.

“Fortunately, I kicked over a cabinet which smashed and the man ran off.

“He didn’t want any goods, he wanted money and the attack did affect me, but I was back in the shop the next day.

“I’d have been happier if (Lahs) was deported to save taxpayers money because I understand that it costs between £300 and £400 a day to keep someone in prison.

“Two and a half years isn’t enough as he’s been kept in custody since September 2017, he’d already pleaded guilty to a judge twice and his sentence would have been reduced because he pleaded guilty.

“I’ve got no faith in British justice.”

During a court hearing on Friday, Recorder Gareth Evans QC was told that Lahs had initially chatted with Mr Mumford about furniture before suddenly grabbing the antiques dealer by his coat collar and producing a knife.

Kevin Jones, prosecuting, said that Lahs held the knife close to Mr Mumford’s chest and told him “Give me the money or I’ll kill you”.

Mr Jones added: “The defendant repeated that threat a number of times but Mr Mumford said he had no money at which point Lahs ordered him to empty his pockets.

“Mr Mumford was very scared before he kicked a display cabinet over which fell and smashed.

“The noise seemed to frighten Lahs who then ran off.”

Lahs was arrested after he was recognised from CCTV footage and was later picked out by Mr Mumford at an identity parade.

Mr Jones said: “The attack affected Mr Munford quite badly, but he is back in the shop and is determined to carry on.”

Mark Watson, in mitigation, said that Lahs had been threatened over a debt and attacked Mr Mumford in “an act of desperation.

Mr Watson added: “Mr Lahs felt that he had to get money and he did this.

“His plan is to return to Latvia and the quicker that happens, the better.”

Passing sentence, Mr Recorder Evans told Lahs: “Someone was trying to get you to get money to pay back a debt and threatened you with a knife and in desperation you went out and did this.

“Your victim was an elderly man, but a man of some stoicism, and wasn’t prepared to let you take any of his goods.”

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