Benjamin Barton jailed for armed robbery brought on by ‘exam stress’

Benjamin Barton jailed for armed robbery brought on by ‘exam stress’

Photo from the BBC


As excuses go, it’s an interesting one – Benjamin Barton’s apparent explanation that exam stress lead him into an armed robbery didn’t seem to go down too well as he was jailed for 3 years and 8 months (actually 3 years, 8 months youth detention) on 21st August 2015.



On 28th May 2015 Mr Barton donned a latex mask, grabbed an (imitation) firearm, and headed to a local jewellers store where he demanded money off the owner.

It didn’t go quite to plan, as David Bruce, the 71 year old owned did not seem to concerned. After telling Mr Barton that “he had “picked the wrong man”, Mr Bruce “who has a black belt in judo, chased him out of the jewellers after hitting him with a baseball bat“.

Mr Barton had never been in trouble before, and pleaded guilty straight away so should have get full credit. What got this case into the news was the comment that Mr Barton may have been “suffering stress because he may not have done well in his A-Levels“.



There are Sentencing Guidelines for robbery. It’s a Level 2 offence, due to the fact that there was a gun there, even though it was not a real one. The sentence indicates a starting point of about 5-6 years. This would appear to be above what we would expect on the guidelines, particularly when account is taken on the fact that Mr Barton was only just 18.

For that reason, we wouldn’t be surprise is there was an appeal, and perhaps a little bit shaved off Mr Barton’s sentence, to perhaps 3 years.

Dan is a barrister at 2 Dr. Johnson’s Buildings practising in crime.