Hull bank robber 'thought he wouldn't be caught'
IT WAS a typical lunchtime in Yorkshire Bank when Dean Wray walked in.
He drew little attention as he joined a queue of customers waiting for a cashier at the branch in Princes Avenue, west Hull.
After waiting for about ten minutes, he stepped forward to see cashier Claire Chalkley.
It then became clear he was no ordinary customer as he passed her a note claiming he had a fully-loaded revolver and threatening to shoot unless she handed over cash.
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"You can't imagine what was going through her mind," said Detective Chief Inspector Paul Cunningham, who led the investigation.
"It must have been very frightening and traumatic. Even though no weapon was seen, there were clear threats towards her."
Little more than 24 hours later, Wray struck again, this time at Natwest in Hessle Road.
Det Chief Insp Cunningham said: "We did not expect or anticipate a similar offence so soon, which suggested Wray was desperate and confident he wouldn't be caught."
Police became aware of the first robbery when a cashier in the bank sounded an alarm.
Armed police were sent to the area, along with incident response officers. The Humberside Police helicopter, Oscar 99, was also deployed to try to catch the robber.
Hours later, officers obtained CCTV images of Wray coolly entering the bank, published in the Mail the following day.
Despite his picture being published in thousands of newspapers, Wray went on to commit the second robbery.
"In both cases, he was very calm," said Det Chief Insp Cunningham.
"He remained in the bank for quite some time before the first robbery. He had clearly thought about it and planned it, preparing a note on both occasions.
"He was almost brazen in that it seemed he felt like he wouldn't be caught. But we were always confident we would catch him."
Fearful of more robberies, police deployed armed officers to patrol the streets of the city.
"We had no idea if, when or where another robbery would be committed," said Det Chief Insp Cunningham.
"We had armed officers out, officers from the neighbourhood teams doing extra patrols, and our incident response officers were fully briefed.
"After the second robbery, we increased the reassurance patrols and the armed cover to protect the public, protect the banks and to identify and apprehend the offender."
It was a simple call from a member of the public that led to Wray's arrest two days after the robbery.
She contacted police after seeing him acting suspiciously near Walton Street, west Hull. After the call, a PCSO spotted him near Hymers Avenue.
He was found with £3,000 of cash, stained pink from a smoke and dye pack handed over with the cash by the branch manager in Natwest.
Det Chief Insp Cunningham said security at banks in the city has increased since the attacks.
"They should make it harder to commit offences like this, and easier for them to be detected if they are," he said.
Although Wray did not admit the offence when interviewed, he indicated he would plead guilty during his first appearance at court the following week.
"This was a very rare offence and I am pleased we have been able to bring someone to justice so quickly," said Detective Chief Inspector Cunningham.
"The sentence – and the fact the judge said he would have been jailed for 11 years if he hadn't have pleaded guilty – reflect the seriousness of the crime and the trauma it caused to the victims.
"It was a good investigation involving officers from across all divisions and I am proud of them all."