Asda security guard jailed for trying to run over suspected shoplifter in van

Former Asda security guard Stephen Johnson has been jailed after he tried to run over a suspected shoplifter in his van. (Reach)

A security guard at an Asda supermarket has been jailed after trying to run down a suspected shoplifter with a van. Stephen Johnson, 27, chased the suspected thief in his work van from the store on St Helens Road, Bolton, Greater Manchester, on 25 July, 2018. His van clipped the suspected shoplifter, who suffered minor injuries.

A court heard Johnson then drove back to the supermarket and slashed himself multiple times with a knife to make it look like he had been attacked. He then told police he had been the victim of an assault. Read more: Police station attacked and officers injured in Bristol riot

Last Friday, Johnson, from Harrogate Road, Stockport, was given a 22-month prison sentence, which he will serve half of, and disqualified from driving for 23 months. Bolton Crown Court heard that Johnson chased suspected shoplifter Steven Quinn and his friend Daniel Lee in his van.

A supermarket security guard has been jailed after trying to run down a repeat shoplifter in his van - then lying to police about being stabbed himself. Stephen Johnson, 27, was working at Asda on St Helens Road in Bolton, Greater Manchester, when he chased a thief from the store on 25 July 2018.
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pCaption: Asda on St Helens Road in Bolton, Greater Manchester

Stephen Johnson was working at Asda on St Helens Road in Bolton, Greater Manchester. (Reach)

The pair were able to climb over a railing and escape serious injury, the court heard, although Quinn was clipped by the van.

After slashing through his own clothes to make it look like he had been attacked, Johnson lied in police interviews and an early court appearance.

He eventually pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, perverting the course of justice and possession of cannabis. Rob Hall, prosecuting, said: “This was clearly a road rage incident, the defendant has at some speed mounted the pavement and has driven around the corner past the corner of an open shop. “He drove at the two males, Mr Quinn and Mr Lee.

The space which they were standing in was confined space between the shop and the railings.

Stephen Johnson was given a sentence of 22 months in prison. (Reach)

Stephen Johnson was given a sentence of 22 months in prison. (Reach)

“It’s fair to say if they had not jumped over the railings they might have been run over by that vehicle.” Ian Metcalfe, defending, explained that Johnson had previously been of good character and that his parents, girlfriend and two managers had sent letters to the court supporting him. Read more: Police called to break up bonfire party by COVID rule-breakers find sex doll

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He said Johnson had received numerous promotions within the security company contracted to work at the store but that he was “unsuited” for the role because of the mounting pressure on his job. Mr Metcalfe said his client had suffered a “complete meltdown”, partly because he had been completing 12-hour shifts and had worked for 10 days in a row before the incident.

A supermarket security guard has been jailed after trying to run down a repeat shoplifter in his van - then lying to police about being stabbed himself.
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pStephen Johnson, 27, was working at Asda on St Helens Road in Bolton, Greater Manchester, when he chased a thief from the store on 25 July 2018. Caption: Bolton Crown Court

Stephen Johnson, 27, was sentenced at Bolton Crown Court. (Reach)

The pressure was so heavy that Johnson had taken to smoking cannabis regularly and even smoked while sat in his work van, the court heard. Mr Metcalfe said Johnson had displayed “genuine remorse” for this actions. Johnson now works in construction and has stopped smoking cannabis, he added.

Judge Graeme Smith told Johnson: “You inflicted a number of injuries on yourself and then continued to give the impression that you have been stabbed.

“This is one of those cases when appropriate punishment can only be served by immediate custody.”

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