Newton Abbot bank robber in jail sentence bid returns to prison

A woman who commended staff in a prison magazine has been jailed indefinitely for trying to rob a Devon bank.

Francesca Robinson, 23, of Heathfield, Newton Abbot, admitted attempting to rob a bank teller in Newton Abbot.

The court heard she could not cope with life outside prison and had robbed the bank at knifepoint to be re-imprisoned.

At Exeter Crown Court she was jailed indefinitely for public protection. She must serve 18 months before being eligible for parole.

Arrest request

The court heard Robinson armed herself and robbed Barclays bank in Newton Abbot in April.

She ran from the bank empty-handed but texted a security guard friend and asked him to contact the police to arrest her.

Alex Allsop, prosecuting, said: "She pulled out the knife and pushed it through the tray and told the teller to give her money.

"She told the [police] officers she did the robbery because she wanted to go back to prison where she felt safe.

"In interview she said her original idea was to take the knife to stab someone but on the way into Newton Abbot she decided it would be better to rob a bank."

'Cry for help'

Prior to her release from prison, in November, Robinson wrote a letter to prison magazine Inside Time.

In it she said: "I didn't really want to leave as I felt better and happier here.

"The officers and other staff here are great, understanding people. They helped me become a better person and more mature."

Robinson had previous convictions for the unlawful wounding of her boyfriend after she stabbed him in the back and for brandishing a knife inside a car and threatening passengers.

Jeffrey Segan, defending said: "This is a very sad case. This offence was a cry for help."

He said Robinson struggled to cope with life outside jail, had been the victim of an assault and had also been treated in a mental health unit.

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