Teen robber forced woman into Leeds canal in towpath attack

A TEENAGER knocked a commuter off her bicycle into a canal as he attempted to rob her in a towpath attack.

A court heard the woman suffered injuries to her back after Luke Dolan deliberately barged into her as she made her way to work along the Leeds Liverpool canal.

Dolan, 18, had spent the night drinking in Leeds city centre and wanted to steal the bike so he did not have to walk all the way home. The teenager was sent to a young offenders institution for two years, eight months over the incident which took place at 7am on August 12 last year.

Vincent Blake-Barnard, prosecuting, said the victim, aged in her late twenties, was in her first week in a new job working for the NHS and used the towpath to commute to the city centre.

Dolan had been out with friends and had drunk 15 bottles of beer. He attacked the woman near to Redcote Lane, Kirkstall, as he made his way home.

The prosecutor said the woman was cycling towards the city centre when Dolan barged into her with such force that she went into the canal with her bicycle.

She began screaming for help as Dolan grabbed the bike but she managed to hold on to it.

Dolan ran off empty-handed and the victim was helped by two workmen who were in the area.

Dolan, a Morrisons supermarket worker, was arrested nearby and was clearly in drink.

He initially denied any involvement in the attack and claimed he had been trying to help the woman out of the water.

Dolan, of Spring Valley Avenue, Bramley, pleaded guilty to attempted robbery.

The court heard the woman suffered complications to an existing back injury.

She is now too afraid to cycle to work and relies on public transport.

Richard Reed, mitigating, said Dolan had no previous convictions, came from a law-abiding family and was unlikely to ever trouble the courts again.

Mr Reed said: “He has no experience of the criminal justice system and he stupidly engaged in this exercise to obtain the bike so he could cycle home after a night out drinking. It was a complete error of judgement.

“He would be a fish out of water in custody.”

Judge Geoffrey Marson, QC, told Dolan: “You fled and left her in the canal. Anything could have happened to her.

“You are a hard-working young man and you come from a decent family and they must be shocked at what you did that day.

“You are unlikely to come before the court again and you have the ability to live a decent and honest life.

“But there is no alternative in this case to an immediate custodial sentence.”

Dolan was also ordered to pay the victim £500 compensation.