Man 'going to rescue' woman from 'aggressive' behaviour 'took law into his own hands'

Two fired-up men stormed round to a flat and angrily confronted the occupier after the girlfriend of one of them phoned him in "distress" to say that she was worried about "aggressive" behaviour that was being used towards her.

One of the two men who barged into the flat menacingly held a knife at the occupier's throat and the pair made aggressive demands for money during a frightening robbery, Hull Crown Court heard.

Mark Limbert, 53, of Birch Leigh, off Anlaby Road, west Hull, admitted robbery on May 14 last year. Tina Doran, 47, of Sefton Street, off Hessle Road, west Hull, was originally accused of robbery but she admitted a lesser offence of theft.


Judge Mark Bury said that Limbert and Doran were in a relationship at the time of the robbery and it was suspected that both of them were addicted to Class A drugs at that point and needed money.

Doran admitted that she got into conversation with a man on Hessle Road during the evening and she followed him to a cashpoint machine. They "sparked up a friendship" and there seemed to be an "affinity" between them, she claimed.

There was a discussion about her money problems. They went back to his flat in Boulevard and the door was locked. The occupier later became "aggressive" towards Doran, said Judge Bury.

Limbert was at home in bed at the time and he was not planning to go out that night. Prosecutor Nigel Clive said that Doran and the flat's occupier went out to buy a pizza before returning to his home.

Things "took a turn for the worse" and Doran became "distressed" while in the man's flat. She managed to unlock his door on the pretext of going to the toilet, said Judge Bury. She telephoned Limbert, who went round to the flat with another man.

Limbert had a knife with him and he asked the flat occupier what was going on. The other man then took the knife from Limbert and held it against the side of the occupier's throat, said Mr Clive.

Limbert and the second man asked: "Where's the money?" They wrongly believed that the occupier had £3,000 cash in the flat but it seemed that he was only due to receive some money and did not have it yet.

The men shouted: "Grab the fags. Grab the pouch." A silver chain, valued at £170, was taken from the flat occupier by the second man, who had not been identified.

Tina Doran, pictured outside Hull Crown Court
Tina Doran, pictured outside Hull Crown Court -Credit:Hull Live

Doran did not know that Limbert would turn up with a knife and with an intention to steal, said Mr Clive.

Doran accepted that she pointed out cannabis and tobacco that belonged to the flat occupier and that she assisted Limbert in taking those items. Limbert later said that he went to the flat after Doran telephoned him because she was "feeling some unease" about being with the man, said Mr Clive.

The flat occupier later said that Doran got up and unlocked the front door and, the next thing he knew, two men were inside his flat, one of them Limbert. Judge Bury said that it seemed that the flat occupier had been "aggressive" towards Doran.

The occupier later said that he was "very frightened" during the incident, especially when the second man held a knife to his throat. "He doesn't feel safe any more," said Mr Clive.

Limbert had convictions for 108 previous offences, 43 of them for theft and dishonesty as well as a large number for burglary and others for drugs, possessing an offensive weapon and assaulting emergency workers.

His longest previous prison sentence was four years and three months in 2004 for supplying Class A drugs. Doran had convictions for 27 previous offences, the most recent in 2019.

Oliver Shipley, mitigating, said that the robbery committed by Limbert was a very serious offence. "He is extremely sorry for taking matters into his own hands and escalating them to the level that he did," said Mr Shipley.

Limbert had taken sleeping tablets that evening and he was in bed when Doran telephoned him and told him what had happened. "It alarmed him and he went round to the address in the manner that he did," said Mr Shipley.

"He acknowledges now that he should have gone to the police. Taking the law into his own hands is the worst mistake that he has made to date.

"His period in custody has given him the opportunity to reflect on what he has achieved in life – or, rather, what he has not achieved. He is yet another defendant whose life was plagued from a young age by Class A drugs.

"He is, perhaps, turning the corner. He is a shadow of his former self now. There is a background of a crippling drug addiction."

No mitigation was requested for Doran. Judge Bury said that Limbert was being sentenced for "going to rescue" Doran and then "getting carried away".

Limbert was jailed for three years. Doran was given 15 days' rehabilitation.