JAILED: ‘Cowardly’ robber terrorised victims during 10-day crime spree

By Megan Archer | Crime | Published:

A dangerous and ‘cowardly’ robber who terrorised six victims during a 10-day crime spree across the Black Country has been jailed for almost a decade.

Wolverhampton Crown Court

John McGarry targeted vulnerable and elderly people in broad daylight, demanding money to feed his class A drug addiction, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard.

Between May 27 and June 6 2018 the 56-year-old robbed or attempted to rob various people in Bilston, while at large from prison.

The most serious of the incidents, Judge Dean Kershaw said, was the final one of the spree, where McGarry entered Kink’s hair salon in Bilston on June 6 under the pretext of booking an appointment, but instead withdrew an ‘eight inch’ knife from his trousers and threatened a woman with it, demanding cash and pulling her by the hair.

He also robbed a 62-year-old man in Lichfield Street, Bilston as he withdrew £100 from a cashpoint, punching him in the side of the head and causing damage to his eardrum, and attempted to rob a woman after getting in the passenger side of her car and pointing a knife at her.

And just a week previously he came up behind another female victim as she walked through a car park in Bilston with her husband, and tried to grab her handbag. A struggle ensued and he ended up dragging her along the ground while trying to prise it from her.

Defending McGarry, who has already served more than nine years in custody for similar crimes, Jasvir Mann said his client was remorseful and had written letters of apology to each of his victims, calling his behaviour ‘unacceptable’. The court heard he had a class A drug addiction, which is why he needed the money.

Sentencing him Judge Kershaw said McGarry had committed ‘horrific’ attacks on innocent members of the public: “It’s clear to me that you deliberately set out to to target people who were more vulnerable than others; lone women, people at cashpoints with their backs to you, and those of advanced years.

“You are a coward, who used violence, knives and a weapon. None of your victims gave you drugs, and it’s of little comfort to them that you were in the grip of a drug addiction.


“You had an enormous affect on each victim, a substantial psychological impact.”

McGarry was charged with three counts of robbery, three counts of attempted robbery, two counts of possession of a bladed article and one count of remaining unlawfully at large while on recall to prison.

McGarry, of no fixed address, was sentenced to nine years and four months in jail, but could be released after serving two thirds of his sentence.

Megan Archer

By Megan Archer
Deputy Chief Reporter - @MeganA_Star

Deputy Chief Reporter with the Express & Star. Give me a call on 01902 319363 or email


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