Robber’s street attack on vulnerable Leeds woman

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A ROBBER attacked an ill woman in the street so he could get cash to celebrate New Year’s Eve by buying crack cocaine.

John Cunningham attacked the 40-year-old victim who was recovering from the affects of a brain haemorrhage when he targeted her on December 31 last year.

Leeds Crown Court heard Cunningham had just been released from prison at the time of the offence and knew the woman. He approached her as she walked along Compton Road, Harehills, and waited outside as she withdrew £150.

Phillip Adams, prosecuting, said Cunningham became aggressive towards her and stole tobacco from her before trying to grab the cash from her hand.

He then grabbed her hand and bent her fingers back before taking £135. The woman suffered serious bruising in the attack and was left crying in pain.

Cunningham told her: “What are you crying for? I left you some money didn’t I?”

Cunningham, of Woodview Grove, Beeston, was arrested a week later after the victim reported the attack to police. He initially denied the offence, claiming he had been with his flatmate at the time.

He has previous convictions for burglary and violence. Richard Reed, mitigating, said: “He makes no bones about the fact that he is thoroughly ashamed.” Cunningham was jailed for two-and-a-half years. Judge Sally Cahill, QC, said: “I am told it was New Year’s Eve and you wanted to celebrate, which is why you took the money. That is absolutely no excuse for the attack.”