Robber, 22, awaits sentence in custody

First published in News

A TEENAGER told a court how he was followed through the town centre by three youths in hoodies and then robbed at knifepoint The 16-year-old said he was grabbed from behind and kicked when he was on the ground by his attacker Michael Price, 22.

After handing over his bag he got to his feet only for Price to produce a chef’s knife and demand his phone, which he did not have.

The teenager was giving evidence at a trial of issue after Price admitted the mugging, but denied the kicking, having the knife or making demands for property.

After hearing evidence from Price, his victim, and a man who was with the robber, Judge Douglas Field ruled against the defendant.

The teenager told Swindon Crown Court he was out on Tuesday November 19 at night when he was followed and mugged.

He said he had seen three people looking at him at the bottom of town as he made his way home from an event at The Oasis.

“They were just staring at me and their body language made me feel uncomfortable,” he told the court.

They followed him as he walked up to the fountain and turned along Canal Walk to Curtis Street. He was attacked by Price on Cambria Bridge Road.

He said: “As I got to the middle of the road my coat was pulled from behind me over my head and I was punched in the face with a left hand, which made contact with my right cheek.”

He added he was kicked a number of times, including once to the face, and handed over his bag when he was told to. When he got up the man in the red hoodie – Price – pulled the knife from his waistband and pointed it at him, demanding his mobile.

“I replied I don’t have a phone,” he said before managing to get free and run away from the trio.

Price, who was living rough at the time, told the court he had kicked the victim, despite denying it in his basis of plea, but insisted there was no knife.

He said he had not meant to rob the teenager, but just to speak to him because his friend Luke Cooper said the victim had been bullying him.

He said the other two youths took the bag and he was given the victim’s bank card, which was later found on him, because he thought he could use it pay off some debts.

But Cooper, 19, giving evidence in his friend’s defence, said he had not been bullied by the lad. He said he had not seen a knife.

Judge Douglas Field said he found the complainant an entirely truthful witness while the defendant was not a truthful witness.

He said: “He [the defendant] said in his basis of plea that he did not kick the complainant . In the witness box he admits kicking him once and the witness called on his behalf said that he kicked him three times.

“He did produce a knife, he did threaten the complainant with a knife, did say to the complainant ‘Give me your bag’ and ‘Give me your phone’.

“He is to be sentenced on the basis that he physically attacked the complainant by punching and kicking him, produced a knife, threatened him with it during the robbery."

Price, of The Circle, Pinehurst, has been remanded in custody for a pre-sentence report to be prepared and will be sentenced on May 30.

Cooper, of Redcap Gardens, Ramleaze, and the 17-year-old, of Freshbrook, had the charges against them dropped at an earlier hearing when they pleaded not guilty.

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