This is what Judge Jason Taylor QC told Richard Hunt at Swindon Crown Court this morning as he sent him down for 10 years for robbery.

You can read our full report from the sentencing hearing here


Judge Taylor told Hunt: “You committed a pre-mediated and cruel robbery of a man that you met essential via social media. He was vulnerable, he suffers with a brain condition and is on disability benefit.

“You befriended him and earned his trust. You sold items to him and following from that pretext and your earlier his home you then said that if he gave you a further £300 he would be able to add to his model collection which he clearly cherished.

“You took advantage of him and you must have seen him as an easy target.

“When you then returned to his him on a second occasion you began a violent assault once inside. You took him to the floor, you bound his wrists, you covered his head with a pillowcase and you punched and kicked and threatened to stab and kill him. It must have been terrifying.

“More so because whilst you were doing this to him in what was clearly a leading role, he heard at least one other possibly two other people upstairs looking for items to steal, which they found inside a safe which you had spotted on your previous visit.

“It is unclear how they gained access to the safe - it is perhaps immaterial - but the total loss was significant.

“It was £13,000 in cash, sentimental jewellery including his mother’s wedding ring and also Army medals belonging to his grandfather.

“They are all gone.

“It is clear from the victim personal statement - perhaps unsurprisingly - that this has had a salutary effect upon him in particular...he has now lost the dream of cruising the world which he had been saving for for years. But more than that and more immediately you have affected his lifestyle because he is now unable to purchase a mobility scooter to enable him to get around.

“In fairness to you, when you were interviewed by the police and indeed you handed yourself in, you did make admissions and candid admissions.”

'Appalling list'

Turning to Hunt’s list of previous convictions, Judge Taylor said: “You have an appalling and, in my judgement, a worrying record because of the picture it presents.”

He added of the 17 convictions for 43 offences: “You have received the full range of penalties open to the court but you have not changed your ways.”

Judge Taylor summarised Hunt’s robbery convictions, noting that two were on lone women and he was still on post-sentence supervision at the time of the January 2021 robbery having received a short jail sentence.

“Taken together these are very concerning factors. They demonstrate an established pattern and a refusal and unwillingness to change your behaviour and it’s notable from the pre-sentence report you show no remorse, empathy or any reservations about doing what you need or want to do irrespective of the consequences for others.

“I cannot ignore that when I consider public safety. It might be, as you put it, water off a duck’s back to you – it isn’t to the court.”


Judge Taylor ran through the sentencing guidelines for robbery. He noted that the fact a knife was not produced – only threatened – was a factor that could place it in the medium culpability category in the guidelines and there were question marks over whether the force used against his victim was significant or very significant.

But he concluded: “It seems to me this falls into higher culpability. You used the chair as a weapon, it is arguable that for someone who was frail the force that you did use could amount to very significant force and the fact that there weren’t more serious injuries doesn’t undermine. Also, you were performing a leading role as part of the group. You were clearly the driving force.”

The value of the theft pushed the case into category 1A with a starting point of 13 years’ imprisonment and a range of 10 to 16 years.

The judge noted the aggravating features: the previous convictions, the fact Hunt was on post-sentence supervision, the victim had been targeted because of his vulnerabilities and the man was restrained.

Pre-sentence report and mitigation

Turning to the pre-sentence report, Judge Taylor said: “Frankly, it doesn’t make good reading for you.”

He noted the points raised in mitigation, including Hunt’s difficult upbringing, that he was doing well in prison and the impact of the pandemic on those serving jail sentences. Hunt’s early guilty plea entitled him to a third credit.

Had he stood trial, Hunt would have received 15 years’ imprisonment. Taking off a third for his guilty plea, it came down to 10 years.


Judge Taylor then had to consider whether Hunt was “dangerous” and should receive an extended period on licence being supervised by the probation service. He qualified in two ways: he had a number of relevant convictions on his record and the sentence he had been given exceeded four years.

“In my judgement you do pose a significant risk of serious harm [of committing] future specified offences. That harm being both physical and psychological. I reach that conclusion based not only on the current offence but the fact you were unable to control yourself despite being on post-sentence supervision and your unenviable and worrying track record of targeting those you perceive to be more vulnerable than yourself.”

Hunt was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment, with a further five years subject to an extended licence period, making an overall sentence of 15 years. He must serve at least two-thirds of the 10 years in custody before he is eligible for release.