Crazed attacker jailed for terrifying hour-long crime spree at Paignton Tesco

A crazed attacker has been jailed for an hour-long rampage in which he terrified tourists, a bin lorry driver, and supermarket staff. Joshua Magee ended his bizarre crime spree by stealing bottles of vodka from a Tesco in Paignton and pouring it onto a counter before trying to set light to it. Then he held his ex-girlfriend as a human shield and poured more alcohol over her head as he kept police at bay inside the shop.

Magee started behaving ‘like a lunatic’ after taking a class A drug and suffering a severe psychotic bad trip. He had only been out of jail for four months and in breach of a restraining order by being with his ex-partner Chloe O’Neill. They had been taking drugs before they went to Paignton at 6am on August 29 this year.

His crime spree started at 6.15am when he threw a plant pot through the French windows of a holiday let on Marine Drive where a couple were staying with their two children aged five and seven. The whole family were awoken by the noise as Magee climbed through the broken window and demanded the keys to their car. When they refused, he went into the kitchen and they feared he was looking for a knife.

Want to hear more from Devon Live? Sign up to our newsletters here. He came back out brandishing a potato masher instead and stole two tablet computers before fleeing into the street, where he tried to hi-jack a bin lorry.

CCTV showed Ms O’Neill stopping the truck by standing in front of it at 6.33am and Magee going to the window and jabbing a penknife through the open window at the driver who had to lean away to avoid the blade and drive off without being injured. Magee was next seen climbing over the bonnet and roof of a car at 6.43 am. By 6.59am he and Ms O’Neill reached Tesco in Victoria Street, where he went behind the counter and took two bottles of spirits and a packet of cigarettes.

He lit a cigarette and spilled the vodka before trying to light it. He grabbed Ms O’Neill round the neck, poured more of the spirits over her head, and held police at bay for a few minutes.

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Staff at the shop were so frightened that one of them needed counselling afterwards. Magee, aged 26, of no fixed address, admitted affray, two burglaries, having a bladed article, criminal damage, breach of a restraining order, and assaulting an emergency worker.

He was jailed for a total of three years and six months by Judge Timothy Rose at Exeter Crown Court. He told him:”This was an extraordinary set of events. In the space of just over an hour you committed a string of very serious offences.

“You had taken voluntarily a drug which affected your behaviour, which was described as lunatic. It was clearly very bizarre and there was some kind of psychotic reaction. “The first offence was a dreadfully serious burglary.

The people in the house didn’t know if you may resort to extreme violence. You were behaving unpredictably and that made it more frightening.” The judge said the bin lorry driver and the staff at Tesco had also been very frightened by Magee’s behaviour.

Mr Richard Crabb, prosecuting, said all the offences happened in a short period of time in Paignton. The family who were staying in holiday accommodation were terrified because their two children were asleep in an unlocked room next to where he broke in. ‘Let us know what you think about the new three tier COVID system in our survey here

The bin lorry driver had to take evasive action as Magee jabbed the knife at him through the window and staff at Tesco were so frightened that one needed counselling. The shop was closed for half a day with the loss of GBP6,000 takings. He lashed out and tried to kick one of the police who were taking him to custody after his arrest.

Mr Paul Dentith, defending, said Magee had been doing well after being freed from a jail sentence in April but went off the rails in August. He lost contact with probation and was wanted on recall by the morning of the offences. He was with Ms O’Neill, who re-started their relationship despite the restraining order.

Both had taken drugs and suffered the same psychotic reaction.

Magee believed people were trying to shoot him and was trying to take the bin lorry to get away from the area.

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