Judge reassures town centre is 'open for business' after robbery trial

Judge Martyn Levett told the new magistrates the public has the right to know what takes place in the courtoom Picture...

Judge Martyn Levett said the town centre was safe and open for business. - Credit: Archant

A judge who locked up a teenager who forced a 50-year-old chef to withdraw money from a cash machine during a late night robbery in Ipswich has reassured the public the town centre is safe at night and “open for business.”

Sentencing the 17-year-old to a 12 month detention and training order, Judge Martyn Levett said he and other judges at Ipswich Crown Court took crime and anti-social behaviour in the town centre extremely seriously. 

“Understandably the world feels very different now and as people venture out more there are some anxious and nervous feelings.

 “Our towns have highly visible schemes designed to increase public confidence and provide reassurance in these unprecedented times," said the judge.

He said he had visited Ipswich town centre late at night and in the early-hours of the morning on week-days and at weekends. 

“I have seen the town pastors and door marshals at work in the bars and town centre. I have seen places of refuge open and available to help those in distress from drink or drugs. Churches are open to safeguard those in need. 

“Additional security measures provide an extra level of reassurance for those enjoying the night-time economy, late night take-away food and drink outlets, and taxi services. 

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“Safety at night is critical for residents, visitors, local traders and businesses as they return to the area after a considerable period away due to the pandemic,” said the judge.

Before the court last week was a 17-year-old youth, who cannot be named because of his age, who admitted robbing the victim of his mobile phone, glasses and money on August 29 last year.

He was given a 12 month detention and training order and was also banned from contacting the victim for five years.

Also before the court was 20-year-old Chelsea O’Connor, of Fore Street, Ipswich, who admitted assault causing actual bodily harm and was given a 21 month prison sentence suspended for 24 months.

Her twin sister Shannon O’Connor, also 20, of Fore Street, Ipswich, admitted an offence of common assault and was given an 18 month conditional discharge.

Sentencing the 17-year-old youth Judge Levett said the incident happened in the early hours of August 29 at a time when the victim was particularly vulnerable due to drink.

He said that in sentencing the teenager a one year detention and training order he had taken into consideration the fact that he had spent time in custody and on a curfew.

 The victim had been out drinking in the town and after leaving a club with friends he had gone to get a kebab before going to a cash point in Upper Brook Street at around 5am.

He was approached by a 17-year-old youth and forced to withdraw £10 from a cash machine after being punched.

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