Couple jailed 19 years after trying to rob petrol station


- Credit: Archant

A COUPLE who tried to rob a North Somerset petrol station and then fled to Ireland have been brought to justice 19 years after committing their crime.

Naomi Mothersoul and Colin Ashman were captured by police after the incident which saw Ashman threaten the owner of Markham Filling Station in Easton-in-Gordano with a knife.

The incident happened on September 16, 1994, when the couple arrived at the Martcombe Road site on a motorbike and its owner of 32 years, John Caines, filled up the vehicle. While Mr Caines waited for payment, Ashman pulled a flick knife and headed toward him, but Mr Caines ran back to the petrol station building and locked himself inside.

The couple were arrested by police who tracked them to the M5 motorway and were held in custody for a week before being released on bail, pending a court appearance.

However, they immediately fled Britain and set up home in Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland, and warrants for their arrests remained outstanding for 19 years.

But this year a detective sergeant who investigated the case as a police constable decided to finally bring the pair to justice before his retirement.

A European Arrest Warrant was issued for Mothersoul, while Ashman was detained after attempting to enter the UK via a South Wales port.

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At Bristol Crown Court in September, Judge Michael Roach jailed 43-year-old Ashman for five years after he admitted charges of robbery and attempted robbery.

At the same court on Monday, Mothersoul was handed an 18-month term after pleading guilty to attempted robbery.

Judge Roach said to 54-year-old Mothersoul: “When you were 34 you were party, with Colin Ashman, to the attempted robbery of a filling station in Easton-in-Gordano.

“I have no doubt this upset and frightened the man involved.”

Richard Posner, prosecuting, told the court: “Michael Porter, who had investigated the case at the time, made it one of his last actions as a detective sergeant before retiring to bring Ms Mothersoul back to the UK.”

Mr Porter retired in September, days after the mother-of-three first appeared in court.

Representing Mothersoul, Catherine Spedding said her client fled to Ireland as she had a three-year-old daughter in 1994 and did not want to lose her.

The relationship between Mothersoul and Ashman broke down after a few years and the pair had no contact for more than 15 years. Mothersoul had lived with her children in a council house in Tralee ever since.