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Horsham

Armed robber gets sentenced after terrifying attacking on officer

An armed robber has been sent to prison for 14 years after a string of offences earlier this year.

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Owen Smith, 29, unemployed of no fixed address pleaded guilty on August 30 at Hove Crown Court to assault by beating a police constable, possession of an offensive weapon, namely a baseball bat, robbery and taking a police vehicle without consent.

He was sentenced at Hove Crown Court on Tuesday (October 30).
The offence was captioned on CCTV at the shop and petrol station.

A Tesco worker managed to escape the scene of a robbery at Redkiln Way, Horsham around 12.30am on Friday July 6 and called police reporting that two men in balaclavas armed with weapons were stealing cash, cigarettes and alcohol from the shop.

An assessment was being carried out when a police car on routine patrol happened to pull onto the Tesco Express garage forecourt and discovered the crime in progress. The officers quickly called for assistance from other units, while trying to get other members of the public, who were turning up at petrol station, to stay away.

However Smith, had seen the officers turn up and ran at them threatening them with a baseball bat. He managed to open the police car door and attack PC Ellie Young, pulling her from her seat.

PC Young received injuries to her arms, legs, neck and shoulder but bravely, she, along with her colleague PC Vicky Canales, continued to tackle Smith. Within seconds back-up arrived and Smith was Tasered and arrested. His accomplice ran off and is still being sought.

Detective Chief Inspector Justina Beeken said:

“Watching the CCTV of Owen Smith attacking our officers is absolutely harrowing, not least due to the ferocity of the attack, and I commend the officers’ bravery and commitment that evening in arresting him.

“No officer should be attacked while doing their job and I am thankful that no officers were more seriously hurt.

“I also commend those officers who ran to their colleagues’ assistance, trying to prevent Smith from getting away from the scene, without a moment’s thought for their own safety.

“Smith’s behaviour has also had an impact on those working in the Tesco Express that evening who were also threatened while going about their job.”

Education

Crawley teacher launches new alternative to traditional teaching for 2-7 year-olds

Launched in Horsham at the beginning of July, Reading Rabbits! is a new interactive way for teaching young children.

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Ava Labelle wanted to create something that would make learning fun and inclusive for children with all abilities and learning styles. Having been a teacher in Crawley for three years she decided to go it alone with her own phonics learning centre, turning a dream into a reality.

Founder Ava Labelle.

Reading Rabbits delivers interactive phonics classes in what they describe as “a fun, messy learning environment to help shape confident learners.”

Ava says:

“I believe that the enjoyment of learning  should be at the core of every lesson, particularly for the youngest learners.

We offer classes for ages 2-7 and have a unique SEN class with plenty of multi-sensory learning opportunities. Whether parents are looking for the best possible transition into school, consolidation of sounds to support their child’s reading or wanting to get ahead- Reading Rabbits can help them on their journey.”

“There are many tuition centres in the local area, but there are not any that focus purely on the younger years, and the learning styles needed for young children to succeed. Reading Rabbits hopes to fill this gap in the market to provide a fun alternative to traditional tuition.”

“For our preschool classes, children have the opportunity to be fully immersed in play based activities, which focus on the letter sound for that session. Parents are fully involved in the 45 minute classes to share the special moments of phonics learning together and can support their child with that letter sound at home.”

The centre had its first open day in Horsham last weekend which was a huge success.

You can find out more at their website: www.readingrabbits.co.uk


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