The armed raider who smashed his way into a jewellery shop yesterday, suffering a heart attack, has died.
Clinton Townsend, 33, collapsed as he was being restrained by members of the public after attempting to rob the shop in central Oxford.
Townsend, from Headington, Oxford, was taken to a nearby hospital, where he died this afternoon.
Local shopkeepers have described how they saw paramedics attempting to resuscitate the man as he was taken by stretcher to the ambulance.
Minutes earlier he and an accomplice had battered their way into the shop which had just opened for business, smashing the glass in three windows.
The two roared up outside the Covered Market in Oxford on a stolen motorcycle, before running into the arcade where they smashed glass in John Gowing jewellery store.
Sources said that moments after confronting the staff – one of who managed to dial 999 to alert the police – the older of the two raiders clutched his chest and collapsed unconscious to the shop floor.
The other man ran away from the shop, empty-handed. He left his accomplice behind, along with a black and green motorcycle which was lying on the ground.
A spokesman for the South Central Ambulance Service said the man had suffered a full cardiac arrest, causing his heart to stop beating.
‘The ambulance service was called by the police who said that there was an “unresponsive male” on the floor of John Gowing jewellers’ store in the covered market,’ said spokesman James Keating-Wilkes.
‘We sent a rapid response vehicle and a double manned ambulance to the scene and carried out CPR on the patient, who was aged about 40 years.
‘We took him by ambulance to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford,’ he added.
A spokesman for Thames Valley Police confirmed that the collapsed man was in a serious condition in hospital.
Eyewitness Mary Faulkner, a sales assistant at a nearby shop, told the Oxford Mail that somebody sprinted past her in a full visor and motorbike helmet.
‘He was literally running so fast I had to move out the way,’ she said. My first thought was I wonder if they’ve stolen something.
‘And I later saw police or forensics picking a pick axe or something like that out the bin in Turl Street.’
Yaseen Yusef, who works at Tim’s Newsagents in the Covered Market, said that it was believed the robber might have suffered a heart attack during the raid.
He said: ‘He was still being resuscitated as he was stretchered on the way to the ambulance.
‘He was a big bloke with a tattoo. We have heard he may have had a heart attack, maybe as he was being wrestled to the ground.
‘Forensics have been at the shop and CID have visited our shop asking for CCTV footage.’
A member of staff at Ducker and Son shoe shop said: ‘There have been a lot of police and police cars in the street.
‘They were doing CPR on the man, I do not know if he was wrestled to the ground.’
A worker at Celebrations party shop added: ‘One of our chaps saw one of the guys run past the shop, he looked like he was wearing a hooded top.’
A member of staff at John Gowing Jewellers told the Oxford Mail: ‘All members of staff are okay – this has been a shock, absolutely.’
Detective Superintendent Chris Ward, leading the investigation, said: ‘We are in the very early stages of our investigation but are keen to speak to anyone who might have information to help with our investigation.
‘We would especially like to speak to anyone who might have seen a man who ran away from the scene, leaving the Covered Market via Turl Street, Oxford.
‘The man was wearing a black and white top with blue jeans and might possibly have been in the area before the robbery happening on a motorbike, with the registration ending SMV.’
Det. Supt. Ward added: ‘I am asking anyone who has any information, no matter how insignificant they believe it to be, to get in touch.
‘I would like to reassure residents that I have a team of detectives working on this investigation to ensure that we catch whoever is GKFX responsible and I urge anyone who might have been in the area of the Covered Market and seen any suspicious activity, to contact the police immediately.’
Detectives later interviewed the jewellery shop staff to get an account of exactly what happened.
Sales assistant Liz Jones, who works in a the nearby Oxford Aromatics store, said: ‘It is just a huge shock.
‘I can’t believe it has happened. I haven’t heard of anyone being hurt at the covered market before. People come shopping here because it is such a nice, pleasant atmosphere,’ she said.
A shopper, 66-year-old Mervyn Brooker, said he too was shocked by what had happened.
‘It’s very worrying. You hear of this sort of thing happening elsewhere in the country but when it comes to the area where you live and shop, it makes you think. I am quite worried – it makes you wonder if you are safe out shopping.’
Nothing was believed to have been stolen during the raid.
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