Leeds knife-wielding robber jailed for theft of car

David Michael Harness.
David Michael Harness.
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A robber drove off in a woman’s car after threatening her at knifepoint when she parked up to make a call on her phone.

Leeds Crown Court heard the victim had pulled up in Walter Street, Kirkstall, Leeds on October 25 to phone her father, when David Michael Harness suddenly opened the passenger door of her Volvo car and got in.

Rukhshanda Hussain prosecuting said Harness demanded her phone and her handbag which was on her lap. When she refused to hand them over he produced a Stanley knife with the blade extended.

She threw the phone at him and managed to scramble from the car after he told her to get out, before he then drove it

Some two hours later the police received a phone call from Harness’s partner saying she had seen him driving it erratically in their street, Royal Court, Hunslet and he had left it parked there.

Police found the vehicle and arrested Harness at his address. He was in drink and claimed: “I don’t do robberies.”

The knife and the clothes he had been wearing were found in a wheelie bin outside but the car keys, handbag and phone, 
worth over £700 were never 

The court heard that Harness was on licence at the time from a prison sentence for aggravated vehicle taking and on bail for an earlier offence in August when he was seen in the street with a craft knife and was convicted of assaulting a policeman who tried to arrest him.

Jayne Dodson representing Harness said alcohol lay behind his offending and he appreciated he was facing a lengthy custodial sentence for the robbery.

At the time he had been living rough for a couple of days after an argument with his partner. He was feeling very low and went and bought some drink and could not remember a great deal of what had followed.

He had asked for a letter of apology to be passed on to the victim.

Harness, 33 of Royal Court, Hunslet, admitted the robbery and possessing the knife in August. He was convicted by magistrates of assaulting a policeman and committed for sentence.

Jailing him for a total of five and a half years with an extended four years on licence after his release, Judge Rodney Jameson QC said he had a bad record including a previous conviction for robbery.

He said the financial loss to the victim in the current case could not be compared with the emotional consequences she had no doubt suffered as a result of his actions that day.

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