A JUDGE refused to sentence a knifepoint robber who thrust a knife into the mouth of a terrified sex worker until efforts were made to find out how it had affected her.

The woman was attacked near the Radnor Street cemetery on November 26 by Alin Balan.

He was brought to Swindon Crown Court ready to be sentenced for the shocking theft bid.

But the case was put off for a fortnight so more efforts could be made to get a statement from the 26-year-old’s victim.

Judge Jason Taylor QC said: “She’s still a victim and it’s important that her voice is heard.”

Prosecutor George Threlfall said the woman was walking through Swindon town centre with a former boyfriend on November 26 when she passed a man on a racing bicycle eating a hot dog.

“He appears to follow her and a few minutes later approaches her and says ‘how much?’” he told the court.

She was attacked near Radnor Street cemetery. Balan thrust a knife into the roof of her mouth and then made off with cash and jewellery.

Mr Threlfall said: “In the last statement made very shortly afterwards C.B. confided in PC Kuklinski, the officer in the case, that she had been traumatised.”

The judge was told police had tried to contact the victim to ask if she wanted to make a statement detailing the impact of the crime upon her, but had been unable to reach her.

Mr Threlfall said she lived a chaotic lifestyle and her health was understood to have gone downhill since the robbery last year.

Adjourning the case until March 12, Judge Taylor QC said: “It is important for you that when I sentence you I sentence on a correct factual basis. I’m told today your victim has gone downhill. It would be wholly wrong of me to assume that was because of you, but the offences which you’ve pleaded guilty to may have played a part in that.”

He said it was unfortunate a victim personal statement had not been made, but added: “I make absolutely no criticism of the police. “They have limited resources and they are dealing with somebody who lives an unpredictable lifestyle. But she’s a victim and she deserves to have her voice heard if she wants it to be heard,” he told the defendant. “I apologise you can’t find out your sentence today.”

According to the Sentencing Council guidelines, those convicted of a street robbery can expect as punishment anything ranging from a long community order to 12 years’ imprisonment.