At 9 o’clock on the 30th of March, two men were seen walking through the Covered Market in motorcycle helmets and pushing a motorbike. They are said to have been armed with a pickaxe. Police received a phone call from the jeweller at around 9.15 to report the robbery.
Whilst the thieves failed to retrieve anything from the jeweller, one of the thieves was detained by a member of the public as they tried to make their escape. The man, who was treated on the scene by members of the South Central Ambulance Service was rushed to the John Radcliffe hospital, where he died on Sunday. He was later identified as Clint Townsend, aged 33.
A post mortem is scheduled in order to determine cause of death but it is believed that the man suffered a cardiac arrest at the scene.
The other thief left the Market and disposed of the helmet in Blue Boar Street before boarding a bus. According to the police he got off the bus somewhere in the Clarendon area. He was described as being white and wearing a black and white t-shirt and blue jeans.
Police have confirmed that the motorbike used during the robbery, a green Kawasaki ZX600 was stolen from an address in Botley Road on the previous Wednesday.
Two men aged 31 and 32 were arrested by the police on suspicion of robbery, but have since been released on bail.
Unconfirmed reports have suggested that a smoke grenade was used by the thieves but failed to detonate.
Esther Hodges, a first year student at Keble commented that “you just don’t expect it, it happens in Morse but that is about it. It’s good to get a reminder of the real world problems that are out there, especiallywhen exams are coming up – revision is put into perspective by this incident”.
Aditya Pandey a classicist at Somerville was blunter, telling Cherwell that while “maybe crime doesn’t pay, Oxford’s reputation as a safe town, devoid of crime seems to be breaking down.”
Det Supt Chris Ward who is leading the investigation said: “I am asking anyone who has any information, no matter how insignificant they believe it to be, to get in touch.
“I would like to reassure residents that I have a team of detectives working on this investigation to ensure that we catch whoever is responsible and I urge anyone who might have been in the area of the Covered Market and seen any suspicious activity, to contact the police immediately.”
Employees at the John Gowing jeweller declined to comment.