A DEFIANT shopkeeper who refused to open his till to a gunman looked his attacker in the eye as he faced justice.

Jonathan Dunkin, 68, attended Chelmsford Crown Court to face would-be robber Scott Cotier for the first time since the terrifying incident at his shop in High Street, Clacton, on January 7.

Mr Dunkin shut and locked the till when Cotier brandished the realistic-looking pistol.

During a moving victim impact statement, Mr Dunkin addressed his attacker and spoke of the impact of shop theft and robbery.

"Obviously to turn your head and see the barrel of a gun one inch from your left eye is quite traumatic," he said.

"The incident has disrupted my sleeping rhythm, now i only sleep for a few hours before waking.

"I can fall asleep again, but I have not had a good night's sleep since the robbery."

He added: "When my reflex action knocked the gun away from my face, I quickly assessed that the maximum risk time had already passed.

"My family - my daughter, her husband and my two teenage granddaughters - were all profoundly shocked, upset and worried for the future."

In a direct address to Mr Cotier, Mr Dunkin said: “I assume you will have time to reflect on your action that night.

“Try to imagine sitting with your wife, your mother, or even your daughter in years to come watching the CCTV of that night. Imagine how you would explain to them why you did this.

“Imagine watching CCTV of your mother being robbed at gunpoint, how would that make you feel? Then imagine how my daughter feels watching you hold a gun one inch from my face.

“It is the measure of a person not how they handle success, but how they handle adversity.

“You are by no means the only one to have a problem childhood, the trick is to not let it ruin your adult life.”

Cotier, of no fixed address, admitted attempted robbery and possession of an imitation firearm with intent.

Judge Emma Peters sentenced Cotier to a total of four and a half years inprisonment.

She said: "It was quite chilling to watch the CCTV coverage of what you did that night.

"It was most humbling to listen to the bravery of Mr Dunkin and to see what he did that night.

"You went into that store at a time Mr Dunkin was working alone.

"He has talked about the fact that it is so regular a story nowadays to be the victim of store thefts, but this was on another scale altogether.

"From what I saw, and on the end of a weapon Mr Dunkin was quite clear, there was nothing about that weapon or the use of it that would cause anyone anything other than a fear for their life.

"You appeared to look as though you were cocking it, with perhaps a view to making it even more real."