A masked customer who repeatedly hit a woman over the head with the handle of a hammer as he robbed a Lincoln social club was jailed for five years and four months.
Donald Hamilton, 58, left club worker Anna Louise Thornton pleading for her life as he took over £3,000 from the Civil Defence club on Lincoln High Street.
Lincoln Crown Court heard Thornton was cashing up after a Saturday lunch time when she noticed an internal door was still open.
Kevin Jones, prosecuting, said: “She bent down to remove the door stop. As she did so she was struck on the head twice.
“She panicked and tried to run in to the office but as she did so she was repeatedly struck.
“A masked man put his hand over her face, nose and mouth.
“She thought she was going to die.”
The court heard Thornton recognised Hamilton as a customer and pleaded with him not to kill her.
Hamilton, who had recently been made redundant, seemed confused and offered Thornton a cloth for her bleeding head but then demanded she opened the safe.
The court was told Hamilton smashed Thornton’s phone and then made her go to the toilets. She was so frightened that she remained inside for two hours.
Hamilton left with £3,303 and changed his clothes at his nearby flat before taking a ferry from Dover to France. He returned a week later and handed himself in at Lincoln police station.
Thornton attended hospital and was treated for two cuts to her head and bruising to her fingers.
Liz Hart, mitigating, said Hamilton had been out of trouble for 25 years. “The remorse struck straight away and he left the mask and hammer at his flat for the police to find.”
Hamilton, who was living in Lincoln at the time of the robbery, but who is now of no fixed address, admitted the robbery on Saturday, October 17.
Passing sentence on Friday, January 22, Judge Simon Hirst told Hamilton: “You struck her several times over the head with the handle of the hammer.
“This lady was absolutely terrified you were going to kill her.”