Plaistow ex-soldier jailed for gun robbery and menacing ex-girlfriend

A former soldier robbed two strangers at gunpoint and launched a four-month campaign of harassment against his ex-girlfriend.

Ashley Axford, 22, of Elim Way, Plaistow, was dumped by Chantel Williams while in prison. He declared on Facebook: “If I can’t have you, no-one will.”

Following his release he threatened a 16-year-old boy, a Facebook friend of Ms Williams, with an imitation gun, smashed plantpots outside her mother’s home, abused her on Facebook and turned up at her workplace where he spat in her face.

He also pulled a gun on two men and robbed them after they offered to give him a lift, Inner London Crown Court heard.

Axford had got together with Ms Williams, of Romford, in May 2010 but she met someone else when Axford, who has a string of previous convictions, was serving for six months for escaping from custody.

When the couple recommenced the relationship, he continued to be violent and threatening towards her.

He refused to accept the split and became angry when he saw her chatting to her 16-year-old friend from Brentford on Facebook.

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At Ms Williams’ mother’s home he smashed several plant pots in the doorway when the girl refused to see him.

The following afternoon Axford visited the 16-year-old’s home and pulled out what looked like a pistol and pointed it at him.

He also pointed the gun through the window and later messaged him on Facebook with a warning.

Axford was arrested in Plaistow on June 15 by armed police and told officers: “If I go to prison, Chantel’s dead. You’ll have blood on your hands.”

The court heard as a child Axford witnessed domestic abuse of his mother and suffered violence himself.

He joined the army aged 18 but was discharged after becoming injured.

Axford claimed he simply “fell apart” when Ms Williams lost her baby.

Judge Mark Bishop sentenced him to a total of nine-and-a-half years.

Axford admitted two counts of robbery, possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence and putting a person in fear of violence by harassment.