4th Dec, 2016

Teenagers picked disabled victim before taking cash

Coventry Editorial 26th Nov, 2015 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

A GROUP of ‘despicable’ teenagers preyed on a disabled woman by circling her on a train and stealing her money, a court heard.

The 25-year-old victim, who is unable to walk and has limited movement in her arms, was on a late night train between London and Birmingham International when she was targeted, on October 7, 2014.

She had carefully laid out her money on the table to pay for her taxi at the end of her journey.

When the train arrived at Coventry seven boys got on board. CCTV showed four of the teens walking through eight of the 11 carriages searching for a victim.

After crowding above and around her they placed a piece of paper over her belongings to distract her and steal her money.

The woman, who was left distressed and panicked, knew she did not have the strength to stop them so waited for the train manager to pass through her carriage to tell him what had happened.

Determined not to let the youths escape, the manager called the British Transport Police (BTP) and as the train pulled into Birmingham International he locked the doors in their carriage.

A BTP officer met the train at the station and arrested the teens, all from Alum Rock, on suspicion of theft. One was aged 16, two were 15-years-olds and another was aged 13.

The group, who cannot be named due to their age, were charged with two counts of theft – the first was for the incident on the train and the other was for stealing from a vending machine at Coventry station.

After their arrests, one of the 15-year-olds left the country. BTP Officers visited his parents’ home every week until he returned and was handed over to police.

He appeared before Birmingham and Solihull Youth Court on November 11 where he was given a six month sentence in a young offender’s institution.

The other 15-year-old was ordered to serve a 16-week sentence while the 16-year-old was given a 12-month youth rehabilitation order with intensive supervision and a two-month curfew. The 13-year-old was handed a nine month referral order and they all ordered to pay £420 in compensation.

Det Cons Stephanie Davis, from BTP, said it was 1am and the woman was left having no money for the taxi to her final destination and getting more from a cash machine would have been a daunting task.

“The actions of these youths were absolutely despicable,” he added.

“She was visibly upset and panicking, the group would have been in no doubt as to the amount of distress they were inflicting upon her.

“We would like to thank the train manager at the time for his quick thinking, which was pivotal in allowing us to arrest the group and bring them to justice.”