An armed robber who stole £50 in cash and then threatened to kill theterrified cabbies family has been jailed for 3 years.
George Longstaff has been sentenced after threatening to kill the innocent taxi driver’s family during a disturbing violent armed robbery in Gateshead at the beginning of the year.
Newcastle Crown Court were told how the former soldier was friendly and chatty at first, when he climbed into the Blue Line taxi on Sunderland Road after midnight on 20thFebruary this year. He gave a false name to the firm and informed the driver that he needed to make a stop at a cash point to draw out the cash he needed to pay his £5.60 taxi fare.
However, when they arrived at theirdestination, the attacker pulled out a knife on the taxi driver and told the terrified cabbie “Give me the money or I will kill your whole family”.
The driver quickly handed over £50 and Longstaff ran off. The taxi driver called the Policeimmediately and they launched an investigation to find the thief.
They searched their database for the phone number Longstaffused to book the taxi and discovered that it belonged to Longstaff.
Officers paid a visit to his last known address, where they quickly found the 24yearoldstill wearing the same clothes he wore during the attack.
His phone was immediately seized allowing the police to establish that was indeed the same number that made the book and also found evidence of the confirmation message from the taxi firm still saved.
Police also discovered that he already had an electronic tag and when they checked his GPS history they found that he had in fact been in the taxi at the same time.
Longstaff was then arrested and charged with robbery. He pleaded guilty in court and then on Tuesday he was jailed for 3 years.
Sergeant VickiKaraniauskaitecarried out the investigation on behalf of Northumbria Police and went on to praise the teamwork of officers to pinpoint Longstaff as the attacker.
She then stated: “When we initiallyreceived the call, we didn’t have a great deal of information to go on, as the phone number used was not registered.
“On this particular occasion it was associated with George Longstaff, so we quickly launched a manhunt and located him at an addressnearby.
“We were able to collecta sufficientamount of evidence to allow us access to the GPS data on his electronic ankle tag, which further confirmed that he was the attacker.
“It truly is an immenselysatisfying feeling to know that all the hard work from our teamhas paid off and led to a violent and prolific thief being put back in prison. We hope our efforts will reassure our surrounding communities.
“We would also like to offer our sincere thanks to the taxi driver for his support during our investigation. He showed real courage and bravery and thanks to his assistance, a violent repeat offender is now off the street.”
Longstaff, who has a total of 38 previous convictions, now begins his custodial sentence.