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Bixter couple relive terrifying robbery

Michael Irvine and Louise Cogle: 'felt fragile for weeks' - Photo: ShetNews/Hans J Marter

A SHETLAND couple have described how they feared for their lives when they were robbed of £5,000 at gunpoint in Bradford, in August last year.

Michael Irvine and Louise Cogle, from Bixter, said they were delighted that two of the attackers were now facing jail long sentences.

On Friday, a jury at Bradford Crown Court found 24 year old Sajid Hussain, of Cunliffe Villas, Manningham, Bradford, guilty of being part of the terrifying attack.

After the verdict it was revealed Hussain was also awaiting sentence for eleven counts of supplying heroin and cocaine.

A second attacker, Shahid Sadik, of Toller Lane, Bradford, admitted the robbery and gun charges before Hussain’s trial began.

Both will be sentenced on Wednesday. The third attacker is still on the run.

The couple had been lured to Bradford where they had hoped to buy a white Audi A4 Quattro they had come across on the internet.

Speaking at the weekend, the couple said the attack had a huge impact on their lives.

“I have never experienced such a fear in my life. Afterwards my body was trembling and my legs were wobbly. It went on for hours,” Cogle, a 38 year old social worker with Shetland Islands Council, said.

She was signed off work for two weeks and was offered counselling by her employer and Victim Support.

“I felt fragile for weeks, and couldn’t tell the story without breaking into tears,” the mother of three told Shetland News.

Irvine, 49, a foreman at local fish factory Shetland Catch, said it felt “surreal” and “like a movie” to be caught up in such a life-threatening scenario.

He added that he regularly found himself thinking how he could have reacted differently, but felt reassured by advice from police that there was absolutely nothing they could have done.

“Police officers told us we were lucky to be alive – and that is all we were caring about,” he said.

Cogle said they had no reason to suspect that anything was untoward. She had done a vehicle history check on the DVLA’s website and had been in regular contact with the seller.

When they arrived by train in Bradford on 10 August they took a taxi to 5 Park Drive, which they described as an affluent part of the city.

To their surprise they discovered that there was no white Audi at the address they had been directed to.

After contacting the seller by phone, they were told they had gone to the wrong address and the car was a little bit further up the street and round a bend at 16 Park Drive.

Cogle said this was the first time she became suspicious.

When they arrived at the address three men, wearing balaclavas, charged out of a driveway shouting: “We are going to shoot you. Where is the fucking money?”

They held the gun at Irvine’s face. Cogle said she was terrified when she heard one of the attackers releasing the gun’s safety catch.

Irvine said: “They were very agitated and I thought they were going to shoot me”.

Fortunately for the couple the attackers were disturbed when a grey BMW approached and the driver quickly realised what was going on.

Irvine said: “They grabbed the suitcase with the money in it and ran away. It was totally opportunistic, as they did not know that we had £5,000 with us.”

He said the police were there within minutes. They used sniffer dogs and were able to catch two of the three attackers within a day.

The couple said they felt apprehensive about travelling to Bradford to give evidence at the trial, because “shootings there every night heighten your fears”.

But when attempts to set up video links first from Lerwick and then from Aberdeen fell through, they agreed to make the 600 mile journey once again.

In the event, they were not required to give evidence in court as a video of the couple’s police interview was deemed to be sufficient.

The cash and their passports have not been recovered.

Cogle said: “At least we are alive. You would never wish such a thing happening to anybody.

“We want to make people aware of this – and we are definitely more wary when buying from the internet”.