An armed robber was acting under duress when he confronted two men in Luton early in the morning, a jury heard on Wednesday, February 17, 2021.
Dylan Aimable-Brown, 22, confessed that he was the man involved, but says he had been threatened to carry out the robberies.
At the start of his trial at Luton Crown Court, his barrister Shaun Esprit told the jury that duress was ‘a defence in law’.
The defendant, from Downs Road, Luton denies robbery, attempted robbery and two charges of having a knife on February 6, 2019.
Opening the case, prosecutor Gabrielle McAvock said that shortly after midnight the first victim was walking along Ashburnham Road.
The defendant approached him from behind and said: “Here, a minute mate”. “He turned to face the defendant, who was armed with a knife.
The man was worried he would be stabbed. He was scared for his life.
The defendant told him: “Hand over everything you have in your pockets.”
“The man handed over his partner’s bank card,” she said. When Aimable-Brown asked for the PIN, the victim gave him an incorrect set of numbers. Aimable-Brown went off.
The victim walked on towards the police station to report the robbery. On the way he flagged down a passing patrol car and raised the alarm.
Ms McAvock said shortly after 1am, around an hour later, a second man got off a train at Luton station. The defendant approached him in Station Road and pulled out a knife.
He said it was put towards his stomach and the defendant said very angrily: “Take out your wallet.”
He took out his wallet and showed him he had no money on him. “The defendant said in a very angry manner there was a cash point at the station and demanded he walked with him to it saying: “If you try to run I will stab you.”
The man took out his bank card and said loudly, in the hope someone would hear: “If you move away I will get the money out and throw it to you,” said the prosecutor.
At that moment a member of the railway staff came out. The victim ran over to him and the defendant ran off.
His movements on Station Road were followed by a CCTV operator.
The police arrived and chased him in a car and on foot and arrested him. When questioned he made no comment to most questions, but after CCTV footage was played to him he made a statement through his solicitor.
In it he said he was sorry and was acting out of character. “I did not mean to harm anyone, I understand what I have done would have put people in fear. I wish to apologise to anyone involved,” he said.
At the end of the prosecution opening Recorder Patrick Fields asked Mr Esprit to explain to the jury the defence case.
The defence barrister told the jury: “He said he was acting under duress and was doing it under threat. That is a defence in law.”