27th May, 2017

Man involved in violent robbery in Coventry behind bars after breaching orders

Correspondent 18th May, 2017 Updated: 18th May, 2017

A MAN who took part in a robbery five years ago when the victim was kicked in the head is behind bars after repeatedly failing to take chances he was given.

Gallys Goma-Babela was jailed for four years at Warwick Crown Court after pleading guilty to breaching a community sentence for the robbery.

Goma-Babela (27) of Compton Court, Coventry, had been given the three-year order in August 2014, with supervision and a mental health treatment requirement.

Prosecutor Lisa Hancox said the robbery took place in May 2012 near the Sikh temple in Coventry after the victim was asked by Goma-Babela and another man whether it was a one-way street.

They followed him, and he was hit to the head several times, knocking him to the ground where they grabbed a gold chain worth £1,200 and his i-Phone.

The man grabbed the leg of one of his attackers in a bid to stop them getting away, but was kicked several times until he let go, said Miss Hancox.

Following his arrest, Goma-Babela denied being involved in the robbery, but was found guilty following a trial in September 2013.

In the intervening period, in March 2013 he had walked into Coventry police station saying he had had thoughts of harming himself – and when officers searched him they found a large kitchen knife.

Following a number of adjournments, he was finally sentenced for both matters in August 2014 when he was given the three-year community order.

He was fined in November 2015 for breaching the order, and in June last year he was made subject to a one-month residence requirement for a further breach.

Despite having been given another chance, the following month he twice failed to keep appointments with the probation service, so breach proceedings were started for the third time.

And a warrant was issued for his arrest when he failed to turn up at the court to be dealt with in September.

David Murray, defending, said that at the time of the robbery Goma-Babela had no previous conviction.

And by the time he was given the community order he had served the equivalent of a 23-month sentence, including time in custody on remand and four months in a psychiatric unit.

Given further time on remand since his arrest on the warrant, Goma-Babela had now served the equivalent of just under a four-year sentence altogether.

“He has sufficient awareness to know he has a medical condition, which is treatable. He knows he has to abstain from illicit drugs.

“He, in his own words, wants to be left alone. While he has breached this order three times, there has been no re-offending,” added Mr Murray.

Sentencing Goma-Babela, Judge Andrew Lockhart QC told him: “You were convicted by a jury of an offence of robbery, and you have, across the course of the years, breached the community order that was passed on you.

“.. It is absolutely clear you have now served approximately the period you would have been in custody had you been immediately sent to prison. I consider it proper that I now re-sentence you because of the numerous breaches.”