Oxford MailRobber jailed after taking hostage in post office raid (From Oxford Mail)

Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting OXFORD NEWS to 80360 or email us

Robber jailed after taking hostage in post office raid

Oxford Mail: Taffyn Betnay Taffyn Betnay

A ROBBER who called himself “the Robin Hood of Oxford” has been jailed after he took a woman hostage during a raid on a post office.

Taffyn Betnay, 23, of Benouville Close in Cowley was yesterday handed a four-year prison sentence for stealing £17,000 during an armed robbery on Tuesday, May 6.

Prosecutor Cathy Olliver said he and an accomplice who has not been caught targeted the post office in Woodstock Road, Oxford, at about 1pm when it was full of customers. She said Betnay wore a red scarf over his face and headed to the back of the shop, while the other man used an extendable baton to threaten staff and stop anyone else from entering.

Miss Olliver said Betnay grabbed Oxford University researcher Dr Teresa Harms from behind as she was waiting in the queue and gripped her neck tightly until the counter staff handed over cash.

The barrister said: “She started to cry, she was petrified.

“She didn’t know if he was going to shoot her or stab her or hurt her.”

Miss Olliver told Judge Mary Jane Mowat that the cashiers tried to give Betnay money and empty packages as fast as they could so he would let go of his victim.

She added that the two men escaped on bicycles with pounds, euros and US dollars but were knocked off and pursued on foot by porters from the nearby Somerville College.

Related links

Betnay has 16 previous convictions for 40 offences – including shoplifting, criminal damage and perverting the course of justice – and previously called himself the city’s “Robin Hood.”

In 2011 he was jailed for 45 weeks for stealing numberplates from around the city, before attatching them to his girlfriend’s hire car while she was at work and stealing more than £1,213 of fuel from petrol stations. Sentencing him at Oxford Crown Court Judge Mowat said he subjected Dr Harms to a “terrifying experience” that left her very distressed.

She heard mitigation that Betnay had lost his job at the Cowley BMW plant, has two young children and had been driven to commit the crime out of desperation.

But Judge Mowat told him: “You grabbed an unsuspecting customer and held her as a hostage in effect.

“That lady was absolutely terrified – it must have been a terrifying experience for all the customers in the shop.

“And there is absolutely no excuse for committing an offence of this kind, financial difficulties or not.”

She sentenced him to four years in prison and told him to pay a £120 victims’ surcharge.

Our top stories:

Burglar's window leap

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

9:40am Saturday 2nd August 2014

A burglar fled through a window when he was disturbed in a North Oxford home.

Trial date for sex case

Oxford Mail: Oxford Crown Court

9:40am Saturday 2nd August 2014

A 36-year-old man accused of child sex offences has had a date set for his trial.

Manure on fields not responsible for pong

Oxford Mail: oxford city council logo

9:40am Saturday 2nd August 2014

Council officers have ruled out fields near Bayswater Road, Oxford, as the source of the mysterious bad smell that wafted through Oxfordshire this week.

New signing Brown out to entertain U's fans

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Saturday 2nd August 2014

Junior Brown is aiming to excite the fans at Oxford United this season after admitting the chance to join was too good to turn down.

Two avoid jail over stolen gold ornaments

Oxford Mail: Oxford Crown Court

9:30am Saturday 2nd August 2014

TWO men who sold stolen solid gold ornaments to a shop which melted them down have avoided jail.

Student whose family was killed recounts unfolding horror of the Gaza conflict

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Saturday 2nd August 2014

AN appeal has been launched to help an Oxford Brookes graduate who lost his family in an attack in the Gaza strip to return to the city to finish his studies.

Power tools are taken

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

8:40am Saturday 2nd August 2014

Copper pipes and power tools were stolen when burglars forced their way into a site in Wallingford.

Ceremony for judge

Oxford Mail: Judge Mary Jane Mowat

8:40am Saturday 2nd August 2014

Judge Mary Jane Mowat has retired after 18 years as circuit judge in Oxford and Reading.

£500k funding for uni's smart glasses

Oxford Mail: Oxford Univesity logo white lettering blue background new logo

8:40am Saturday 2nd August 2014

‘Smart’ glasses designed by Oxford University which help blind people to see have been awarded £500,000 worth of funding.

Joust a moment

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Saturday 2nd August 2014

THERE were exultant cheers at Blenheim Palace as the Knights of Arkley charged and jousted with one another in an annual tournament.

Rise in children who go missing three times or more

Oxford Mail: oxfordshire county council logo round

8:30am Saturday 2nd August 2014

CHILDREN in Oxfordshire went missing more often this year despite safeguards put in place after the Operation Bullfinch child sex grooming case.

Five police face misconduct inquiry over Jayden search

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

8:30am Saturday 2nd August 2014

FIVE police officers are facing a misconduct probe over the search for murdered teenager Jayden Parkinson.

Albert Hall Proms date for 'war choir'

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Saturday 2nd August 2014

WHEN servicemen fly off to battle, singing with friends helps their wives get through a worrying time.

'Time to move these boats on'

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Saturday 2nd August 2014

THE body charged with managing Oxford’s waterways has come under fire for failing to move on illegally-moored boat dwellers.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree