Robber beat up ex-serviceman to steal £10 - then threatened police he would 'do a Cregan'
8:20am Wednesday 4th December 2013 in News
A VIOLENT robber — who left an ex-serviceman unconscious at a cashpoint so he could steal just £10 — has been jailed.
When he was accosted by police, Christopher Burtak later threatened to "do a Cregan" - a referance to Dale Cregan, the murderer who killed two female police officers in a gun and grenade attack in Manchester.
Burtak and his accomplice launched the savage attack on Jeff Banks as he withdrew money from a machine in Halliwell Road, Bolton Crown Court heard.
The 57-year-old victim suffered a fractured cheekbone and bruises all over his body, and his attackers fled in his disabled wife’s Vauxhall Astra which had been parked across the road.
Mr Banks, who has recovered physically from the robbery, is still receiving treatment from military medical staff for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Burtak, aged 25, of no fixed address, claimed he had only acted as a lookout during the robbery at 11.30pm on June 6.
But sentencing him to six years and nine months in prison, Judge Peter Davies said: “As a lookout you facilitated this attack and your conduct demonstrates you approved of this action."
The stolen Astra was found damaged in Peterhead Close and fingerprints linked Burtak, who has previous convictions for stabbing a victim with a drill and several robberies, with the crime.
Burtak, who was under the influence of alcohol and cocaine at the time of the attack, was found by police in the early hours of June 7 hiding in a burger van outside a house nearby.
After a struggle — which caused about £1,000 of damage to the burger van — Burtak told officers: “Let me out of these cuffs or I will do a ‘Cregan’ on you.”
Judge Davies said the threats were “insidious”, given officers had so recently lost colleagues in the line of duty.
Dale Cregan, aged 30, was handed a whole-life tariff after he admitted luring PC Nicola Hughes and PC Fiona Bone to a house in Tameside before he killed the unarmed officers in a gun and grenade attack.
Cregan also admitted the murders of David Short, aged 46, and his son Mark, aged 23, in August and May 2012.
Bolton Crown Court heard how Mr Banks’ life has not been the same since the robbery.
In a written statement, read out to the court, he said before the attack he was a “relatively healthy, 57-year-old ex-serviceman”, but that this trauma had left him feeling vulnerable in a way he never had felt before.
He had been subject to a “vicious and unprovoked” assault, the extent of which only became clear after he was shown photographs when he regained consciousness in hospital.
Mr Banks said he now feels “jumpy” when out with his family, which upsets his children, and is wary of any youths wearing hoodies on the streets.
Nick Ross, defending, told the court that Burtak had no idea the robbery would have such a profound impact on Mr Banks.
He added: “May I say how truly sorry the defendant is for his actions. I think the pre-sentence report makes it clear that the consequences have made him feel quite devastated.”
Mr Ross said Burtak felt angry and let down by the system. He was penniless, having received no state benefits since leaving prison, and he was living away from his Bolton family at a youth hostel in Bury.
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The court heard Burtak was first convicted of a juvenile offence in 2003, aged 15.
Three years later he was sentenced to four years in prison after stabbing a man with a drill during an attempted burglary.
Burtak was also convicted in 2011 for two robberies on taxi drivers in Bolton, and had been out of prison on licence for less than a month before the attack on Mr Banks.
Judge Davies said: “You have shown no clear remorse and receive only minimum credit for your plea, as you did so only when the chance of an unmerited acquittal appeared remote because of new evidence.”
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