Former soldier jailed for Newton Abbot knife robbery
A soldier who could not cope with life outside the forces has been jailed.
Samuel Winning, 23, joined the army when he was just 16 but left when he was 20 and sank into a spiral of drink, drugs and petty crime because he could not find a job.
His offending escalated until he and fellow addict Carl Smith carried out a knifepoint robbery in which they forced a student to hand over his phone and bank card and tell them his PIN.
Winning held student George Kingsley in a neck lock which left him struggling to breathe while Smith threatened him with a knife, Exeter Crown Court was told.
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Father-of-one Winning, of West End Terrace, Denbury, near Newton Abbot, admitted the robbery in Powderham Road , Newton Abbot.
Smith, 34, of Whitelake Place , Newton Abbot, hanged himself in a cell at Exeter Prison on November 22, 2012, while awaiting trial on the same charge.
Winning was jailed for 16 months by Judge Francis Gilbert, QC, who told him: "The victim says he was held for up to 25 minutes and was threatened with being stabbed. I regard your previous convictions as an aggravating feature."
Bathsheba Cassel, defending Winning, said: "My client joined the army when he was 16 and served for four years, including in Northern Ireland.
"He left when he was 20 and it was a familiar story of someone struggling to adapt to civilian life.
"He had difficulty finding employment and spiralled into the abuse of alcohol and drugs."