A GUNMAN who held a group of terrified youths up at knifepoint in a park has been locked up for eight years.
Preston Crown Court heard how Jacob Williamson carried out two muggings while armed with a fake handgun and a large hunting knife.
In one shocking incident in February this year, the 20-year-old, who was 19 at the time of the crime spree, robbed four teenage boys while they were out socialising at Ashton Gardens in St Annes.
He threatened the 16 and 17 year olds with the imitation weapon and the blade before demanding they empty their pockets.
When they did not respond quickly enough he slashed open the face of one boy and coldly told the group: “Put all your stuff on the floor”.
In an earlier incident, he had attempted to rob a dog walker in Ansdell while wearing a skeleton mask, but his 41-year-old target fought off the violent attack and he fled the scene.
Williamson, of Singleton Avenue, St Annes, was appearing in court for sentencing having previously pleaded guilty to 10 offences including robbery, attempted robbery, wounding and carrying an imitation firearm.
Paul Cummings, prosecuting, said the four boys were out socialising and had not been drinking on the night of February 3.
They had gone to the park’s rose garden where they came across the defendant.
He pulled out an imitation gun and the 10in blade before attacking the younger boy who ended up needing 10 stitches to his face.
Williamson made off with mobile phones and a wallet.
After the attack, one of the boy’s fathers Simon Ingham, a postman from Ansdell, told The Gazette: “They argued with him at first, then laughed him off and that’s when he lashed out with the knife.
“They didn’t realise the seriousness of the situation until they got out of the park and saw blood was pouring down the boy’s face.
“The robber knew exactly what he was doing and wasn’t jumpy or nervous. My son says he is fine but he has definitely been different since it happened.”
Last November, the attempted robbery victim was out walking his sister’s dogs when the defendant approached him on a push bike.
Williamson was wearing a skeleton mask. He stopped in front of him, put the barrel of the gun to the man’s face and demanded: “Give me everything you’ve got.”
The victim grappled with Williamson who pistol-whipped him repeatedly, bit his hand and threatened him with the hunting knife before the victim managed to get the better of him and Williamson fled.
Afterwards, the man, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “I saw the gun and actually asked if he was kidding. I grabbed the wrist he was holding the gun with and he managed to hit me in the head with the butt of the gun about four times.”
Sophie Cartwright, defending, said Williamson had run up a drug debt and was desperate.
She added: “He is disgusted with how he behaved. He indicates his sincere remorse to each of the victims.”
Williamson’s sentence also includes four years extended licence.