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Would-be muggers chose cage fighter as victim
9:00am Wednesday 16th October 2013 in News
A PAIR of drunken muggers picked the wrong man to rob in a darkened car park as their victim turned out to be a cage fighter.
Dean Maundrell and Michael Bennett thought they would outnumber their target as he got home from a Friday night gym session.
But Lewis Hawkins fought back, repeatedly punching Bennett, 27, and ignoring 25-year-old Maundrell’s threat that he had a gun as he dragged him from his car.
Tara Wolfe, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court Mr Hawkins had just arrived home from training at about 8pm on March 8.
As he pulled up in his Honda Civic in a car park off Cross Street, close to the flats where he lived, he saw two men loitering.
When he got out Maundrell shouted ‘Oi mate, what’s the time? I’m not from Swindon,’ then grabbed him by the arm.
Bennett joined his accomplice, standing over Mr Hawkins as Maundrell demanded ‘Give me what you’ve got’ and reached into his pocket and grabbed his car keys. Bennett took a swing at him, only for Mr Hawkins to punch him in the face.
The fighter then tried to get away from the men but Maundrell tripped him, jumped on him, and tried to punch him, but he blocked the blows before getting free.
“Mr Bennett made an effort to punch him again but the complainant punched back and Mr Bennett fell,” Miss Wolfe said.
“Mr Maundrell got in the car and tried to start it. Mr Bennett went over to the car and was described as leaning all over it. In order to protect the car he (Mr Hawkins) punched Mr Bennett in the face again, causing him to fall to the floor.”
He then dragged Maundrell out of his car and as he did so the robber shouted ‘I’ve got a gun, I’ve got a gun,’ to which Mr Hawkins replied ‘Well get it out and shoot’.
Maundrell then said ‘I’m going to blast you’ but when the victim told him to give him his keys he threw them and fled.
Bennett hid behind some bins and Mr Hawkins told him to stay there until the police, who had been called by neighbours, arrived. When he was arrested soon after, he was found to have a lock knife in his pocket which he claimed he had from work.
His accomplice was arrested a couple of months later after CCTV footage showed him close to the scene and he was picked out in an ID parade.
Maundrell, of Brendon Walk, Park North, and Bennett, of Queens Drive, both admitted robbery. Bennett denied possessing a bladed article but was found guilty at trial.
At the time, Maundrell was under a curfew imposed for an earlier offence.
Jane Malcolm, for Maundrell, said he had been drinking heavily and could recall little of the incident. She said: “As a result of excess alcohol he has behaved like a drunken lout. At the time he was at a low place in his life.”
Will Woodman, for Bennett, said his client had contested the trial on the knife, saying it was a work tool.
He said the men had been drinking all afternoon and had been thrown out of the Plum Tree for being drunk before the incident.
“They came up against, I should think, the last person they should want to come up against – a cage fighter who knows how to look after himself,” he said.
Jailing them, Judge Euan Ambrose said: “These offences are so serious that in each of your cases only an immediate custodial sentence can be justified.”
Maundrell was jailed for 27 months and Bennett, who played the lesser role, got 20 months.