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Rochelle Holman and Michael Thorpe
Rochelle Holman and Michael Thorpe
Image: Greater Manchester Police

Manchester bank robber armed with bomb and claiming to be ISIS member jailed for 19 years

His partner has been jailed for seven and a half years.
Apr 9th 2018, 7:08 PM 16,388 25

A BANK ROBBER, who claimed to be a member of ISIS, armed with a bomb when threatening staff has been jailed alongside his partner in Manchester.

Michael Thorpe, aged 38, and Rochelle Holman, aged 31, both of Crossgate Avenue, Benchill in England, were sentenced at Manchester Crown Court earlier today after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery.

Thorpe also pleaded guilty to possession of an imitation firearm.

He was jailed for 19 years, while Holman was jailed for seven and a half years.

The activities of the pair first came to the attention of police on 13 July 2017 when Thorpe entered the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) in Cheadle Village, wearing a motorcycle helmet and passed a not to the cashier claiming that he was a member of ISIS and carrying a bomb.

The note demanded that the member of staff make no sudden movements before handing over the cash. Fearing for their life, the cashier did as ordered. Thorpe proceeded to leave the bank and met Holman around the corner, who was waiting for him in a carpark.

The pair then used their money from the robbery to buy a new car and a holiday to Gran Canaria.

Source: GM Police/YouTube

Further robberies

During the first two robberies which took place at RBS banks on 30 August 2017 and 12 September 2017, Thorpe managed to flee with thousands of pounds in cash.

However, despite his best efforts, he was unable to get any money from robberies ata Tesco Express in Baguley on 20 November 2018 or the Vernon Building Society in Bramhall on 1 December 2017.

After coming away from two robberies empty handed, the pair changed their strategy and decided to target a travel agents in Knutsford using an imitation firearm.

On 5 December 2017, the two travelled to a Thomas Cook travel agent on King Street in a black Vauxhall Vectra and parked nearby. Holman got out of the car and began scouting the premises before calling Thorpe to provide a report of what she had seen.

A short time later, Thorpe entered the store carrying a Christmas tree and the imitation gun. He then proceeded to threaten members of staff, forcing them to hand over cash before fleeing the scene.

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Later that same day, officers from Greater Manchester Police’s (GMP) Serious Organised Crime Group executed a warrant at the couple’s home address and found damning evidence of their crimes.

This included the Vauxhall Vectra used during the final robbery, a Christmas tree, clothes matching the description of those worn during a number of the incidents, an imitation firearm and numerous notes stating that the holder was a member of ISIS and carrying a bomb.

“Michael Thorpe and Rochelle Holman used devious tactics to strike fear into each member of staff they encountered during their attempts to make a quick bit of cash,” Detective Sergeant Richard Castley of GMP’s Serious Organised Crime Group said.

Based on the nature of the incidents and the damning evidence we found during our search of their home address, it is clear that they planned each robbery in some detail before executing their strategy.
This was not some amateur operation.

“Although Thorpe was the one who entered the bank and made the threats, Holman played a key part in planning the robberies and attended each one with her accomplice lover, waiting for him to return with the spoils of their latest crime,” he said.

“They are now where they belong, behind bars and about the spend the coming years with plenty of time to consider whether it was worth it all.”

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Hayley Halpin


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