Court frees robber who stole nothing
4:30pm Monday 9th September 2013 in News
A SELF-APPOINTED debt collector who used ‘gratuitous violence’ as he tried to rob a man of £50 has walked free from court – because his victim had no cash on him.
Benjamin Robinson punched and kicked his victim on the ground in the pre-planned attack on the man whose son, he claimed, owed his brother the money.
But the 26-year-old ended up empty handed following the brutal night time attack at the middle aged man’s home because he didn’t have any money on him.
He even denied having anything to do with the attack until forensics officers found the victim’s blood on his shoes.
Recorder Michael Vere-Hodge QC told him that if he had taken any cash in the attack then custody would have been justified.
However, after hearing he had a steady job and had been out of trouble for four years, the judge, sitting at Swindon Crown Court, imposed a suspended sentence.
The court heard Steven Moore’s son had damaged the windscreen on Robinson’s brother’s car and under a police local resolution deal he had been told to pay for the repair.
Rob Welling, prosecuting, said the defendant claimed his brother had ‘sold’ him the debt which had £50 outstanding on it, despite the Moores saying it had been settled.
He said Mr Moore senior, 55, arrived home in Gorse Hill from his work as a warehouseman in the early hours of April 30.
After parking at the rear of his house and stepping on to his drive he was aware of two men coming towards him through the darkness.
“One of those males approached him and shoved him backwards which caused him to fall to the floor,” he said.
“One of those males said: ‘We want fifty quid’. He said: ‘I don’t carry money’, and the second male said: ‘Go to the cash point then’. He said he didn’t have his card.
“Both males then threw punches to the chest and head while he was on the ground shouting about his son owing them the money.
“He covered his head and rolled to the foetal position and tucked his knees up. It was at that time that they began to kick him to the body and head over and over again.”
As a result of the attack, the victim was covered in blood and suffered bleeding to an ear, scratches to the face and bruising to his bicep.
Mr Welling said he had to take three days off work and was left fearful of leaving after late shifts.
The defendant was questioned and denied any involvement in the attack until the blood was found on his trainers.
Robinson, of Warneage Green, Wanborough, pleaded guilty to a charge of attempted robbery.
Rob Ross, defending, said the ‘gratuitous violence’ took place once the attempted robbery had been completed.
He said it was ‘unfortunate’ his client had got involved in the incident, having been out of trouble since 2009, adding ‘Were he not drunk he would not have got into trouble’. Since then he said he had been working as a painter and decorator and had been supporting his six-year-old son from a previous relationship.
Passing sentence, the judge said: “Had you received any money using the violence as you did then immediate custody could be all that was justified.
“The violence you used after asking for £50 and not getting it is inexcusable. You should be deeply ashamed.
“I have to ask myself is this consistent with my public duty, which is at times to pass sentences which are deterrent, as well as to have regards to the interests which you express through your solicitor, as to whether there is justification to suspend the sentence.
“I have come to the conclusion I can, just. What persuades me is you are 26, you have kept out of trouble since 2009 and you are in steady employment. There are many people in custody who don’t have steady employment.”
He imposed a 15 month jail term suspended for two years and told him he would be under supervision for a year and have to pay £750 in compensation.