Judges reject Rotherham mugger's plea

A YOUNG thug who picked on a lone woman in a night-time mugging has failed in a legal challenge to cut his four-year jail sentence.

Jack Smith (21), was locked up last December after pleading guilty to robbing Jamie Lee Clark on a Rotherham street.

His accomplice, Andrew Havenhand, received two years and three months for the robbery, with another three months for a separate drugs-related offence.

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At the Court of Appeal ,Smith appealed against the prison term, but saw his sentence upheld by two judges, Mr Justice Gross and Judge Christopher Moss QC.

The sentence was “severe,” but not too long, Mr Justice Gross ruled.

Smith and Havenhand were spotted by CCTV operators approaching Miss Clark in Rotherham on the night of October 17 of last year.

They engaged her in conversation, before leading her to a secluded area where the CCTV cameras did not cover.

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The pair robbed her of her bag and ran off, but the camera operators kept them in sight and both were arrested.

Smith initially denied the offence, but admitted that it was him in the footage and ultimately pleaded guilty at the crown court.

At the time, he was still on licence from a previous three-year sentence, also imposed for a robbery in December 2007.

His lawyers argued that it was wrong that Smith had received a sentence so much longer than Havenhand, who the sentencing judge had said was “led” into the offence.

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The only violence meted out in the mugging had been a push and Smith had since behaved well in custody, the judges were told.

Dismissing the appeal, Mr Justice Gross said Havenhand had been “perhaps lucky” with the sentence he received, but that would not impact on the correctness of Smith’s term.

“The appellant has a poor record, including, most importantly, a previous conviction for a similar offence,” the judge went on.

“For that offence, he received a sentence of three years’ detention. It would be surprising if a sentence for a repeat offence of a similar nature was not longer.

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“He has only himself to blame, though one can only hope he takes his time in custody to prepare himself for life when he is released.

“This was a severe sentence, but it was not manifestly excessive.”



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