Leeds & West Yorkshire

Leeds NatWest bank manager jailed for helping robbery

Rachel Shariar-Namini
Image caption Shariar-Namini was described by the judge as a bright, hard-working girl

A 23-year-old bank manager who gave her boyfriend the inside information he needed to rob a branch in Leeds of £370,000 has been jailed for 12 years.

Rachel Shariar-Namini's vital role allowed William Wormald and his accomplice Darren Ashcroft to rob the NatWest branch in Hunslet in March.

It was the biggest cash robbery from a bank in West Yorkshire for a decade.

Sentencing Shariar-Namini, the judge said she was "astonished" she had thrown away such a promising career.

The defendant had been fast-tracked by NatWest to the position of branch manager, Leeds Crown Court was told.

Shariar-Namini, of Victoria Avenue, Rothwell, Leeds, was found guilty of robbery in a trial earlier this year.

Wormald, 26, of Cranewells View, Colton, Leeds, and Ashcroft, 39, of Pennwell Dean, Stanks, Leeds, admitted robbery at a previous hearing and were jailed for eight years each.

A fourth defendant, David Cowie, 31, also of Pennwell Dean, who had been paid to provide the getaway car, admitted robbery and was jailed for five years.

Judge Sally Cahill QC heard that during a night out with her boyfriend in Leeds, Shariar-Namini drew sketches of the Hunslet branch where she had recently worked before her promotion.

She denied robbery, claiming she was drunk when she sketched the plans and never thought they would be used in a crime.

However, the plans were used by Wormald and Ashcroft who entered the bank by cutting a hole through the roof into the ladies' toilet.

Masked and carrying crowbars, they got away with £371,691 in cash which was being stored ready for transit.

The court heard that days later Wormald took Shariar-Namini on a shopping spree in York, where shop staff clearly remembered him producing handfuls of bank notes.

Judge Cahill told Shariar-Namini she provided the information which was essential for the raid.

She said: "You are a bright, hard-working girl who had a good future ahead of you. You have chosen to throw that away."

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