Jack Phillips, who admitted robbery, possessing a firearm with intent to commit robbery and possessing a prohibited weapon, has been spared jail by Recorder Michael Elsom, who says his age and the fact others had told him to carry out the act made it an exceptional case.

Michael Anning, defending, said Phillips had been under pressure in relation to a debt he allegedly owed and the gun was given to him by others to commit the offence.

Mr Elsom said “[The prosecution] can’t exclude the possibility that what you did on November 4 was done under the direction of others more criminally experienced than yourself, or under pressure. I have reports which suggest you are a person particularly susceptible to pressure. There must be absolutely no doubt that what you did was a very dangerous thing indeed, should anyone think I have forgotten the undoubted bravery of Mrs Bassi”.

Phillips, who was 17 at the time of the attack, entered Mrs Ranvir Bassi’s newsagent shop in Stafford masked and carrying a sawn-off shotgun, but Mrs Bassi refused to hand over any money and chased him out of the shop. The judge ordered that Mrs Bassi be given a £500 reward for her bravery.

Phillips has been given two years detention, suspended for two years, ordered to carry out 240 hours unpaid community work and given a six-month curfew.

Please click here to view Michael Anning’s profile

Please click here to view the article by Express and Star.