A masked robber who tried to steal cash from a village shop attacked a mother and son with a Taser and bit them, a court heard today – as he was jailed for five years.

Mary Marshall and son Richard were left injured and traumatised by Simon Protheroe, 38, on December 20 last year when he and an accomplice tried to rob West Wycombe Post Office and Village Store.

Protheroe was jailed for five years for what Aylesbury Crown Court Judge Catherine Tulk called a “very serious and nasty” attack in a Skype hearing on Friday (June 5).

ALSO READ: 'Thanks to all who helped Post Office staff after traumatic ordeal'

The court heard Protheroe drove to West Wycombe High Street with an accomplice in a Vauxhall Insignia on false number plates just five days before Christmas 2019.

After pulling up at around 10.30am, Protheroe and the other male, with hoods up and masks over their faces, walked into the shop armed with a stun gun and demanded staff hand over cash.

The court heard how shopkeeper Richard Marshall bravely ran out from behind the counter to try and tackle the robbers.

While Protheroe managed to get past Richard and head towards the counter, the accomplice – who has not yet appeared in court – managed to escape and run off in the direction of Stokenchurch.

Meanwhile, Protheroe had approached the counter - where Mary was standing – and shouted “give me the money”, while waving the Taser at her.

ALSO READ: Woman who text police officer to offer him drugs is jailed after heroin wraps found in her bra

Reading a statement from Mary, prosecutor Jonathan Stone said Protheroe started “grabbing” cash out of the till.

Mary’s statement said: “He was waving something at me, but I didn’t realise what it was. He was saying something like ‘I want the money, give me the money’. I realised he had a Taser – I felt stinging sensations. He Tasered me about half a dozen times in the upper body and neck.”

Bucks Free Press:

Simon Protheroe

Mary tried hitting Protheroe to get him to stop pulling cash out of the till and when Richard realised what was going on, he ran over and both of them managed to get Protheroe on the floor and pin him down.

The robber said he was asthmatic in an attempt to get them off him – but then bit both Mary and Richard on the hand.

The bites – which drew blood – meant the mother and son had to undergo HIV tests.

A statement from Richard said he was Tasered in the shoulder, head, torso and leg during the struggle.

ALSO READ: Warning after disposable barbecue sets decking on fire

While this was going on, another shopper had been calling 999 and Protheroe was pinned down until officers arrived to arrest him at 10.42am.

Susan Lord, who was in the shop at the time with her husband, said the robber was “aggressive”, adding: “He tried to get free. I heard Richard and Mary say ‘stop biting us’. He was trying to fire the stun gun at everyone. I tried to help by holding his finger off the Taser.”

In a victim impact statement read out in court, Richard said the attack had left him paranoid and suspicious and has not been able to sleep properly since.

The attack also affected him physically.

When Protheroe was interviewed by police after his arrest, he provided ‘no comment’ answers, but pleaded guilty to attempted robbery and possession of a firearm at a court hearing in February.

Protheroe has had 42 court appearances for 77 different crimes including violence, drugs and motor vehicle offences.

At the time of the attack, he was also disqualified from driving.

Defending Protheroe, Neil Jarvis said although he is “well-known in the criminal world” and was a class-A drug user, he is in a “steady” relationship and has a young son.

ALSO READ: Are 11-plus grammar school exams still going ahead in Bucks?

He said: “This is the first time he will have a sentence that will restrict his liberties for quite some time.

“This was not a commercially planned assault on a bank or a Securicor van. It is a very nasty offence, I don’t hide away from that.

“I understand he has suffered bullying in the prison system and it has been difficult for him over the last few months.

“He knows he will spend a long time in custody. He wants to come out a better person and a better father. There is a self determination that he can become drug-free and non-reliant on class A drugs.”

Judge Tulk sentenced Protheroe to five years in jail for attempted armed robbery and possession of a firearm and disqualified him from driving for 54 months. She also ordered him to pay a victim surcharge.

Sentencing, she said: “It was clear you did not accidentally discharge the stun gun, it was seen going off continuously. Mary Marshall says she was hit six times, Richard Marshall a number of times too.

“When that didn’t get them away from you, you bit them as well. That is a very nasty form of assault because no one knows what blood-borne diseases the person biting you may have. They had to undergo HIV testing for several months.”