A PENZANCE couple have spoken of being terrified when they were confronted by a man, dressed in black and brandishing a kitchen knife, who stepped out from behind bushes.
Elizabeth Strutton, who with her partner Michael Robinson runs the Trinkets antiques and jewellery store in the town, told Truro Crown Court on Monday: "The man was about five feet away from me. He stood still and did not say anything. It only lasted a few seconds but it felt like a lifetime."
Terrence Tennant, 48, of Trevean Road, Penzance, is on trial after denying attempting to rob the couple of cash on April 10.
Edward Bailey, for the prosecution, has told the jury of seven women and nine men that Tennant pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to possession of a bladed article without good reason or lawful authority in King's Road, Penzance.
In the early afternoon of April 10, said Mr Bailey, Miss Strutton and Mr Robinson received a telephone call from Tennant saying he had some gold to sell. They arranged to meet at a property in King's Road and received further calls changing the time and venue.
It was as they walked down a path to the property that Tennant stepped out.
He was wearing black jogging trousers, a black T-shirt and black hat and was holding the knife, which had a seven-inch blade, across his chest.
Mr Robinson, who was carrying about £1,400 cash in his pocket, and Miss Strutton, turned and walked back into King's Road where they saw a young woman, Sarah Joselyn, and warned her to move away as there was a man with a knife in the vicinity.
Miss Joselyn knew Tennant and at his request had met him twice that day, the second time noticing that he had changed his clothes and was wearing all black.
Mr Bailey said: "Miss Joselyn noticed he seemed to be in an anxious mood and he told her 'this is it Joss, he is having it, I am taking the money, he thinks he is having the stuff but he ain't'."
In the Truro witness box on Tuesday, Tennant was asked whether he had phoned Trinkets offering gold for sale.
He said: "I would not have been foolish enough to phone somebody and say 'do you mind popping down' because I am going to rob you."
He had not told the truth during a police interview because he had been completely bowled over by the accusation and wanted to distance himself from it. "I just wanted to get out of the police station and bury my head," he said.
Mr Bailey told the jury at the start of the trial that it was the prosecution's case that Tennant, who had been drinking alcohol, had laid all the groundwork and then bottled it at the last moment.
The trial continues.