Sheffield student left with fractured jaw after he confronted group who stole his bag as he helped homeless woman

A Sheffield student was left with a fractured jaw after he pursued the group who stole his bag as he stopped to help a homeless woman, a court heard.
The altercation took place in Devonshire Street on December 8 last yearThe altercation took place in Devonshire Street on December 8 last year
The altercation took place in Devonshire Street on December 8 last year

Sheffield Crown Court heard how following a night of drinking and socialising with friends, a 31-year-old mature student from Sheffield Hallam University was walking along West Street in the city centre at around 4.45am on December 8 last year.

Prosecuting, Neil Coxon, told the court: "He was talking to a homeless woman and was offering to give her money, food and a drink.

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"He had put his rucksack on the floor. A group of people crowded him and his bag was taken."

The student followed the group he believed had taken his bag on to Devonshire Street, and after trying to get his bag back from the group an altercation broke out.

The court was told how an unknown man pushed the student to the floor, and once on the ground Carl Boot, of Beldon Street, Norfolk Park began repeatedly kicking him.

"CCTV from Devonshire Street showed Mr Boot kicking out at the man," added Mr Coxon.

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Boot, aged 27, was identified through the CCTV and was subsequently arrested by police.

During the attack, the student suffered a bi-lateral fracture to his jaw, for which he needed to have metal plates fitted during surgery under anesthetic.

He also suffered lacerations to his eyebrow which had to be glued.

In a victim impact statement read out in court this morning, the student said the incident had left him with ongoing medical problems.

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He said: "I have lost the feeling in my lower jaw and in the right half of my tongue.

"I pay more attention when I go out now and feel nervous about drinking and having the situation under control."

Boot pleaded guilty to one count of wounding and another of theft at an earlier hearing.

Defending, Vanessa Saxton, told the court: "He [Boot] tells me he is very sorry. It isn't something he chose to be involved with.

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"He was unaware that the injuries were as serious as they are."

She added that Boot was extremely intoxicated when the incident took place, and has previously struggled to overcome problems with alcohol.

Judge Paul Watson QC sentenced him to two years in prison.

He said: "It was a truly ugly incident."