Teenage muggers avoid prison
A PAIR of teenagers who robbed a 14-year-old lad of his mobile phone at knifepoint have walked free from court.
Lewis Todd and a 16-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, targeted the boy as he left Burger King on Queens Drive.
And after the younger attacker produced the blade he told the boy to hand over his Blackberry to 18-year-old Todd, who warned him not to tell.
But despite reminding the robbers that the Government was considering jailing all knife offenders, a judge decided against custody.
Martin Steen, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court how the young victim had gone to the fast food joint on April 4 last year.
He said the 14-year-old was there with friends, where he was hoping to meet a girl, when Todd and the other boy arrived.
“He was invited by the two to go outside and smoke a spliff in the alleyway. He was concerned if he went out with the younger of them he might be robbed,” he said.
Mr Steen said the victim phoned another friend to ask him to pick him up, but when he got outside he was pulled over by the 16-year-old.
“He was approached by the teenager who said to him ‘Don’t make it bate’, in other words ‘don’t make it obvious’,” he said.
“He said, ‘Look at this’ and he was able to see a knife in his right hand. It had a five-inch silver blade with a light brown handle.
“As a result of seeing the knife he gave up his phone, preferring the option to the possibility of being stabbed. He gave the phone to Mr Todd.”
The victim went home and told his mother what had happened and the police were informed.
Todd, of Lansdowne Road, Old Town, and the 16-year-old, from Haydon End, each admitted robbery. The younger one also pleaded guilty to having a bladed article.
The case took so long to come to sentence because Todd only admitted his guilt on the day of trial.
The 16-year-old has a long list of previous convictions including taking part in another violent robbery when he was aged just 13. He was convicted of stealing jewellery worth £5,000 from his stepmother and selling it at a pawn shop.
Tony Bignall, for the younger defendant, said the community order suggested by probation “could be more onerous” than a short jail term.
Mike Pulsford, for Todd, said his client played a peripheral role in the robbery and had not been aware a knife would be involved.
He said he had turned his life around and conquered his drug problem and had started a carpentry apprenticeship.
Passing sentence Judge Tim Mousley QC said: “Thirteen months ago you two acting together robbed a young man.
“What makes this offence serious is the use of a knife. “It was held to his stomach and the younger of you demanded that he give you his phone. It was very serious.”
“I don’t know if you have heard what was in the news today, the Government have it in mind to impose immediate periods of custody when a knife is involved.”
He imposed a 12-month youth rehabilitation order on the younger boy and put Todd on a 10-month jail term suspended for 18 months with supervision and 40 hours of unpaid work.