Ipswich: Judge praises have-a-go teen hero who chased after and caught thief

IPSWICH: A judge said his faith in human nature had been restored after a member of the public chased down a bag-snatcher.

Judge David Cooper praised the teenager’s decision to pursue 20-year-old thief Geavaise Deaves through Ipswich.

Deaves stole a handbag from a woman with Down’s Syndrome as she sat on a bench with her boyfriend in The Buttermarket.

A witness, Danny Ling, instinctively gave chase as Deaves leapt a wall near the Willis building.

When he reappeared, Deaves had dumped the handbag and attempted to disguise himself by taking off the hooded top he had been wearing. But Mr Ling recognised him and caught up with Deaves, who gave himself up.

Deaves, who was last in trouble for shoplifting in 2007 and sent to a young offenders institution, had stuffed the contents of the handbag into his own wallet.

Judge Cooper, who sentenced Deaves at South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court, said: “Thanks to this wonderfully public-spirited witness, everything was recovered. It renews my faith in human nature.”

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Deaves was in �4,500 worth of debt, including �700 in shopping catalogue bills, when he stole the handbag.

He had earlier attempted to sell items to an exchange store but had no form of identification on him and was turned away.

A letter of apology from Deaves to his victim was presented to Judge Cooper by solicitor Tariq Khawam, who also said his client had no knowledge of her condition.

Judge Cooper told Deaves: “This was a really repellent crime. What you did was utterly repulsive.

“This young lady must have been caused a lot of shock and anguish.”

Judge Cooper handed Deaves an 18-week jail term suspended for one year and said he was lucky not to go straight to prison.

He was also ordered to attend a Thinking Skills probation programme and to pay his victim �50 in compensation.