No prison for street assault

A THUG who stole a valuable gold chain after beating a man pawned the jewellery and spent the cash on an engagement ring for his fiancée.

Vito Rondinelli and a friend jumped their victim as he returned home in the middle of the night in a revenge attack.

When the 32-year-old saw the thick 18 carat necklace had fallen off, he pocketed it before selling it for less than half its value at a pawn shop.

Colin Meeke, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court how victim Nico Albanese was attacked at about 2.30am on June 11.

He was walking from his car, after parking on Osborne Street in Gorse Hill, when two men with hoodies pulled up close to their heads attacked him.

“They approached him from behind, he was struck from behind, he fell forward.

“He felt considerable pain in his head,” Mr Meeke told the court.

“It appears he was struck on the head. He put up his hands to protect his face.

“He felt numerous blows to his back and legs, both were punching and kicking him.”

He said he thought he was briefly knocked unconscious and was aware of a Ford Ka speeding off before going home to find he was bleeding from the nose and head.

“During the course of this a heavy 18 carat gold chain, a present from his mother, went missing,” Mr Meeke said.

“He (Rondinelli) got £620 for a neck chain worth about £2,000. He put it into his bank account and bought an engagement ring for his partner.”

When he was questioned, Rondinelli denied the assault, telling the police he had found the necklace, which the court heard had now been returned to its owner.

Rondinelli, of Whitney Street, admitted actual bodily harm and theft.

Rob Ross, defending, said: “This was a stupid act by Mr Rondinelli. He allowed himself to get inveigled in something that wasn’t his argument.

“Mr Albanese has had some problem with another man mentioned in the papers.

“It is something of a surprise to myself and my learned friend that my client is in the dock alone.

“Thankfully there doesn’t seem to be any kicking to the head, which is a saving grace, and no long-term injuries.”

He said his client worked as a chef in an Old Town restaurant and supported his wife and child.

Passing sentence, Judge Douglas Field said: “You, having attacked him, seized the opportunity of taking the chain which was on the ground after the assault.”

He imposed a four-month jail term suspended for a year and ordered he pay £500 compensation to his victim.

The judge also told him to do 120 hours of unpaid work in the next 12 months and pay an £80 victim surcharge.

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