Blackpool getaway driver pushed man out of his Fiat Panda after his throat was cut

The getaway driver in a Blackpool robbery which left a man with serious cuts to his throat has been jailed for 16 months.

Luke Ball was bleeding heavily when the driver, Reece Barker, 31, pushed him out of the Fiat Panda and drove away on July 12 last year.

Preston Crown Court heard Barker was driving the car with Mr Ball in the passenger seat and another man in the seat behind. Mr Ball had £100 cash and a white Xbox with him, Jack Troup, prosecuting, said.

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As Barker pulled up outside the Premier shop in Park Road, the passenger attacked Mr Ball with a knife. The passenger took the cash from him and placed it on the dashboard. Barker pushed Mr Ball from the car before driving away.

During the alleged robbery, Barker seemed frightened and told Mr Ball ‘just give it to him’. A witness saw Barker and the passenger carrying a white X-box, Mr Troup said.

The witness spoke to the men and saw Mr Ball had an injury to his neck. He later told police the driver said he did not know things would unfold the way they did as he had only been asked to drive the car, Mr Troup added.

Barker pleaded guilty to assisting an offender, although a jury later found the second man not guilty of robbery.

The Honorary Recorder of Preston Judge Robert Altham said: “In some ways this is an unusual case because the defendant has assisted an offender who was then acquitted.”

Julie Taylor, defending, said Barker, of Hallford, Rochdale, was fully aware that Mr Ball had been wounded and had property taken from him.

“There was a degree of panic”, she said.

“He saw Luke Ball had been injured and rather ungraciously pushed him from the car and drove off. They were apprehended 15 – 20 minutes later.”

Judge Altham said: “The other man was acquitted of the offence to which this defendant pleaded guilty to assisting. His account to the jury was that he had been attacked by Luke Ball and was acting in self defence.

“The driver Reece Barker pulled over and Luke Ball was attacked. A large piece of skin was flapping from his neck as he left the car and there was a large amount of blood. It is absolutely plain that Barker was not a party to the planning in this case and there was clear evidence from Luke Ball that Reece Barker was frightened by what was going on in the car.

“As the knife went into Luke Ball’s throat he was telling him to hand the money over. He acted partly out of fear and panic.”

Following his arrest Barker was remanded in custody before appearing at Preston Crown Court on Monday (April 4) to be sentenced. Judge Altham sentenced him to 16 months.

Lancs Live – Blackpool