A pair of soldiers who served in a famous regiment that carries out ceremonial duties for the Queen attempted a string of robberies in South London, a court heard today,
Grenadier Guard Kristopher James-Merrill, 20, is accused of carrying out seven raids with friend Marlon Wright, 25, between July 24 and July 26 2018.
James-Merrill, from Brixton, arrived at Kingston Crown Court on Monday with a military medal pinned to his dark blue suit.
He and Wright, also from south-west London, deny four attempted robberies, three robberies and seven counts of possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.
Sharpe, from Dulwich, who has served in the Grenadier Guards, has pleaded guilty to all 14 charges and is not standing trial, the jury has been told.
He threatened shopkeepers with a handgun, demanding they hand him cash while he was disguised in black clothing, a hood and a mask.
Prosecutor Fraser Coxhill said: “He therefore admits being the male who entered the shops wielding a handgun.
“There is no dispute these defendants are known to each other.
“Mr Sharpe and Mr James-Merrill were at the time serving guardsmen in the British Army and Mr James-Merrill is a serving Grenadier Guard.
“Marlon Wright was good friends with them both.”
Four shops were raided between 11pm on July 24 and the early hours of July 25, and a further three took place within an hour on July 26, the court heard.
Mr Coxhill said: “Over a three-day period between July 24 and 26 2018, the same hooded and masked man entered seven small convenience shops and robbed, or attempted to rob, the shopkeepers of cash.
“On each occasion, he threatened those who worked there with what appeared to be a firearm.
“It is the prosecution case that these defendants, together with another male, Dillon Sharpe, each played a role in these offences.”
Sharpe had entered the first shop in Croydon and stole £1,000 from the till after threatening the shopkeeper with a handgun, the court heard.
He left after a scuffle which left the victim with face and head injuries. Police found a magazine for a pistol nearby.
Five minutes later, in the second targeted shop, Sharpe was fought off by a shopkeeper carrying a large wooden stick used to close the business’ shutters, Mr Coxhill said.
“He instinctively ran towards him in an attempt to chase him off and Mr Sharpe ran out of the shop,” he added.
The Grenadier Guards is one of the most senior in the British Army.
Soldiers wear a scarlet tunic and bearskin uniforms while on ceremonial duties at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.
The trial continues.