18th Feb, 2020

Jail for violent robber of OAP after he was detained by public-spirited neighbours in Coventry

A YOUNG man who knocked a vulnerable pensioner to the ground and took his wallet and phone was detained by two public-spirited local residents who went to his victim’s aid.

And at Warwick Crown Court, Mark Sweeney pleaded guilty to carrying out the robbery outside the Whitley Court flats in Coventry.

Sweeney (20) of Pegmill Close, Whitley, was jailed for two years and eight months.

Prosecutor Richard Witcombe said that at around 6.30pm on February 22 a retired man was on his way back to his flat when Sweeney pushed him to the ground outside Whitley Court.

He landed on some grass where Sweeney pushed his face down so he would not see who was attacking him and began going through his pockets, taking his wallet and mobile phone.

But the victim recognised Sweeney as someone he had seen about 20 times over the previous couple of years, and who had asked him for money on several occasions.

He put up a fight, and was able to hit out at Sweeney before two nearby residents rushed to his assistance and detained Sweeney, enabling him to recover his wallet and phone from the ground.

The police were alerted and Sweeney was held until officers arrived to arrest him, added Mr Witcombe.

Jailing Sweeney, Judge Barry Berlin told him: “He was an elderly man, and you approached him and pushed him down and held him face-down so he wouldn’t see you.

“I have regard to the psychological report on you, but there are aggravating features. The victim was targeted because of his vulnerability. I take account of your age, but the public need to be protected.”

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