Leeds teenage robber targeted university students on nights out, court told

A teenager who robbed university students enjoying nights out in Leeds has avoided jail.

By Nick Frame
Friday, 5th August 2022, 4:45 am

The 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons because of his age, left one student “traumatised” and “constantly looking over his shoulder”, Leeds Crown Court was told.

The presiding judge, Recorder Anthony Hawks, told the youngster had been lucky he was still a youth, adding: “Had you been an adult, you would probably be going to prison for three or four years.

"You are entitled, as a juvenile, to be treated differently, but this will be the last time.

The first student was targeted on Merrion Street, close to the junction with Wade Lane.

"You will be 18 soon, and be in the big boys’ world.”

Prosecutor Anthony Moore said the first student, who is from Brighton, was targeted on December 13 last year and had only just started at Leeds.

He and a friend got out of a taxi at Merrion Street in the early hours and went to the nearby McDonald’s.

Six males then approached the pair and struck up a conversation.

The 17-year-old defendant then told the student he had a knife, snatched his iPhone and demanded the passcode, which the student gave him and he left the scene.

At around 1.30am on February 13, a second student had been in Revolution bar on Call Lane when he went outside for a cigarette.

The defendant approached him and asked him for a light, before following him to a cashpoint.

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As the student put in his PIN code in, he was barged out of the way. The robber then withdrew £200 and left.

He was later identified on CCTV and picked out of a line-up. He has no previous convictions.

An impact statement from the first student was read out by Mr Moore.

It read: “It was traumatising and life changing. I had just started university and it should have been the best experience of my life, but it’s one of the worst.

"I no longer feel safe.”

Little mitigation was given by his barrister, Andrew Semple, other than that he has been in the care of the local authority, and that progress was being made.

Recorder Hawks gave him a 12-month youth rehabilitation order and said: “I’m not going to tell you how to live your life, but I will give you a warning, this really is a crossroads for you.”