Woman was getaway driver for thugs who attacked man with meat cleaver

Woman, 21, who was getaway driver for teenager and his friends who attacked man with meat cleaver to steal his e-scooter is jailed for two-and-a-half years

  • Abigale Duke helped her sister’s boyfriend get away after attacking a teenager
  • The 21-year-old helped Alfie Stiffle-Pace, 19, and his friends rob Glen Heasman
  • Mr Heasman was attacked with a knife and meat clever at his home in Sheerness
  • The victim, described by Duke as a ‘big softie’, was left unconscious on the floor

A woman who was a getaway driver for a teenager and his friends who attacked a man with a meat clever has been jailed for two-and-a-half years. 

Abigale Duke waited for as long as 30 minutes in her Ford Fiesta while a group of four thugs viciously robbed Glen Heasman in his home. 

The 21-year-old, who messaged her sister to say she was ‘sh****g’ herself while waiting, acted as an accomplice while the group left Mr Heasman unconscious with his top saturated in blood on March 23, this year. 

A court heard that despite her concern for the victim, who she knew and later described as ‘a big softie’ and ‘lovely’, she did nothing to save him from ‘a savage attack’. 

Maidstone Crown Court was told that Alfie Stiffle-Pace, who was dating Duke’s sister at the time, and his friends invaded Mr Heasman’s house in Sheerness, Kent, looking for a ‘significant amount’ of money. 

Instead they left Mr Heasman unconscious on the floor, with a deep knife wound to the underside of his right arm, as well as a ‘hole’ in his thumb and a cut to his hand as he tried to grab the weapons.

The robbers fled with just a £340 e-scooter, £160 in cash, an iPhone 12, tobacco and a bag of random items ‘of little value’.

Duke and Stiffle-Pace both pleaded guilty to robbery, with Duke being jailed for two-and-a-half years on Friday, August 12. 

Abigale Duke (pictured) has been jailed for two-and-a-half years for acting as a getaway driver while a teenager and his friends robbed a man

Prosecutor Craig Evans told Maidstone Crown Court Duke was ‘part of a joint enterprise’, and her phone revealed ‘clear evidence she knew about the robbery, waited for the four males to return, drove them back, and knew the target’.

Stiffle-Pace was dating Duke’s sister at the time he and three friends carried out the ‘mob-handed invasion’ of Mr Heasman’s home at about 9pm on March 23.

Stiffle-Pace also admitted wounding with intent and having a bladed article and was locked up for five years and three months during the same hearing on Friday.

Passing sentence on the pair, who have no previous convictions, Judge Julian Smith said: ‘For two young people with obvious potential to be before the court for such a grim and grave offence is astonishing and extremely disappointing.

‘Mr Heasman was slashed and stabbed with highly dangerous blades. His injuries are fearsome and there is no need for an active imagination to perceive the impact on him.’

He added that Duke had a played ‘an integral part’ and told her: ‘You may not have a bad word to say about Mr Heasman but you did nothing to save him from a savage attack. You participated and played your part in it.’

Duke, of Vincent Gardens, Sheerness, had told the court she initially agreed ‘as a favour’ to give Stiffle-Pace, then 18, a lift but then discovered that Mr Heasman was to be robbed.

She denied knowing however that Stiffle-Pace, of Valley Road, Kenley in Surrey, and his accomplices were armed or seeing any blood when they got back in her car.

‘I just thought they were going to rob Glen. I didn’t really think there was going to be any violence involved, just a threat possibly,’ she said.

Duke (pictured) didn’t try and warn Glen Heasman about the robbery, despite describing him as ‘lovely’

‘Glen was a big softie. I know he has a love for animals and he was always very pleasant to me. I haven’t got a bad word to say about him. I think he’s lovely.

‘I just thought four men would have scared him enough.’

She added it was her sister who had asked her to give Stiffle-Pace a lift and told her of the robbery. In their subsequent message exchange as Duke sat waiting to drive them away, the court heard she also told Duke to ‘get something out of it’.

Asked while giving evidence how she felt about being involved, Duke told the court she was ‘terrified and very disappointed’ in herself, and upset to hear Mr Heasman had been attacked with knives.

Of her message ‘I’m sh*****g myself NGL (not gonna lie)’, to her sister, she added: ‘I knew I was in some sort of trouble and it wasn’t the right thing to do.’

Duke said she did not just drive off and leave the robbers behind because she feared repercussions.

Mr Evans described how the thugs had knocked on Mr Heasman’s door in the belief he was a drug dealer and, when opened, demanded a ‘packet’.

They then forced their way in, with Stiffle-Pace first through the front door wielding a 4in-bladed serrated kitchen knife and his accomplices armed with a combat knife and meat cleaver.

Mr Heasman was then repeatedly ‘slashed and stabbed’ at before being threatened with what he believed to be a gun.

‘This was a targeted, mob-handed home invasion robbery of a house thought to be used for the supply of drugs and no doubt it was thought there would be a significant amount of cash,’ said Mr Evans.

‘Mr Heasman grabbed the cleaver, causing a cut to his thumb. Another had a homemade, combat-style knife which he tried to grab as best he could, suffering a cut to his finger.

‘As he did so, Stiffle-Pace stabbed him to the underside of his right arm, causing a deep and unpleasant wound.

Duke and Alfie Stiffle-Pace were both jailed at Maidstone Crown Court on Friday, August 12

‘Stiffle-Pace then punched Mr Heasman to the face, causing him to fall to the floor. When he said there was CCTV in an attempt to stop them, one replied “We don’t give a f***. We have a gun” and showed what appeared to him to be the handle of a gun in his pocket.’

The court heard they then searched the house before fleeing to Duke’s Fiesta.

Mr Heasman, who did not provide the court with a victim impact statement, was found by a friend who used a homemade tourniquet to stem the blood flow.

Kerry Waitt, defending Stiffle-Pace, told the court he thought the robbery would be ‘easy money’ and enough to help towards buying a chalet on the holiday park where he was staying.

‘He was extremely naive, some would say stupid, but he thought it was an easy task,’ said Mr Waitt.

‘He did not know there was going to be weapons but it grew, and he didn’t have the courage to say no and back down.

‘This was not so much wickedness but a product of his recklessness and trying to impress.’

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