Hainault shopkeeper fights off masked gunman with his wooden stool

Thurairagh Pirabahuran

Thurairagh Pirabahuran - Credit: Archant

When a shopkeeper was faced by a masked man wielding a gun in his face, he decided to fight back with what he had to hand – the stool he was sitting on.

After finishing serving a female customer, Thurairagh Pirabahuran shoved the stool at the robber causing him to run off empty-handed.

Father-of-two Mr Pirabahuran was working at Hainault Food and Wine with Shanmuganathan Umesh, who he owns the business with.

The pair were nearing the end of their shift and Mr Umesh was closing the shutters at about 9.30pm.

Mr Pirabahuran, 41, said: “He came inside and put the bag on the counter, showing me the gun. I was on the phone to my friend so I picked up the stool I was sitting on and hit him with it.”

CCTV images, which can be viewed by clicking on our gallery above, show Mr Pirabahuran repeatedly shoving the masked man, Sheldon Green, 23, of Hackney, with the stool and forcing him to recoil.

Green was attempting to rob the shop in New North Road, Hainault, as part of a crime rampage around the capital.

Most Read

Minutes before, Mr Umesh said he spotted Green pull up on his motorbike and kept the shop open to serve him.

“He came to the door and then did one or two shots at the sky to show the gun was real and told me to go and get the money,” said Mr Umesh.

The 40-year-old added: “He had a bag which he gave to me.

“There was a lady customer and my colleague served her first and then she just ran.”

It was then that Mr Umesh went to the back of the shop and pretended to call the police.

Green approached the counter demanding money from the till.

Mr Umesh said: “He told my colleague to give him the money but he didn’t, he just grabbed the stool and hit him. Then the robber ran off.

“I think he was scared or maybe he didn’t want to fight.”

The raid, which happened on September 17, was part of a spate of robberies Green was jailed for at the Old Bailey on Friday.

Green was finally caught after a dramatic police chase which ended with him jumping in a canal.

He was being hunted by specialist police unit the Flying Squad who wanted to question him over a spate of robberies, including one in Hainault and one in Woodford Green.

Police led a hi-tech surveillance operation on Green, and finally got a breakthrough when he stole a phone with a tracking device application on it from a woman walking in a street in Hackney.

She immediately called the police.

Det Sgt Neil Turner, from Barking Flying Squad who led the investigation into Green, said: “Officers chased the suspect on foot and he then jumped into a canal.

“They surrounded him and he quite quickly realised his attempt to swim the canal was futile and gave up.

“They fished him out and he was arrested”

On Friday Green, of Hackney, who had already pleaded guilty to nine charges, appeared at the Old Bailey. He was sentenced to five years in prison.