Robber celebrates birthday behind bars

AN Ipswich robber will be spending his 18th birthday behind bars today. His co-defendant will be celebrating her 19th birthday and her narrow escape from a custodial sentence.

AN Ipswich robber will be spending his 18th birthday behind bars today. His co-defendant will be celebrating her 19th birthday and her narrow escape from a custodial sentence.

Patrick Greaves of Fonnereau Road was sentenced to an eight-month detention training order after pleading guilty to committing two street robberies in Ipswich Town Centre.

Laura Branton of Barrell Road was sentenced to 18 months community rehabilitation after pleading guilty to handling stolen goods.

Judge Nicholas Beddard at Ipswich Crown Court said: "You are only escaping a custodial sentence by the skin of your teeth."

The defendants who share their birthdays today (Sat) were both living in Fonnereau Road when they and another man approached a 17 year-old at the Old Cattle Market Bus Station.

Neil MacAulay prosecuting said: "He was apprehensive because he noticed the female was holding some kind of lager, he said a youth asked him for cigarettes and then Greaves "patted" the victim's jeans pocket and his mobile phone was taken from him.

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"The victim began to get frightened and was a bit shaken," said Mr MacAulay. The three youths made off with the phone and the victim contacted the police. When the police went to Greaves and Branton's address the phone was discovered on Branton's bed.

She said she was: "very drunk" at the time of the incident and could not remember how she came by the phone. A week earlier Greaves had been walking along Silent Street with some acquaintances when he approached 18 year-old Jamie Smith who was with some friends.

Greaves asked Mr Smith "have you got any money for us then, the last person who didn't got cut and shot."

Mr Smith gave Greaves £10 and ran off after Greaves started patting his trouser pockets and asking for his mobile phone.

The court heard that Greaves had a criminal record for robbery, burglary and theft, Branton had a previous record for theft, assault and possessing drugs. Jude Durr mitigating for Greaves said his client was "subjected to trauma as a child which had left him emotionally damaged and unable to empathise with others."

Simon Spence for Branton said she had: "turned her life around" since switching from heroin to a methadone prescription and was about to start a hairdressing course.

Judge Beddard described the robberies as "unpleasant offences" which were "frightening for the victims".

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