Cousins jailed for robbery - Hatfield


Two teenage cousins believed in keeping it in the family when they turned to crime and carried out a violent robbery in Hatfield one night.

David Saunders and Billy Doherty robbed the man in a garage block, taking his wallet which contained £200 as well as bank cards.

Today, Monday, 30 January 2017, the pair appeared in custody at St Albans Crown Court to plead guilty to the robbery, which occurred on 05 March last year.

Before they were were sentenced, Judge John Plumstead was told it was not the first time the cousins had joined up to rob someone. On another occasion, the pair robbed a young man of his mobile phone, even using it to film their victim.

Outlining the case today against the two 18-year-olds, Gemma Stokes, prosecuting, said it was on the evening of 5 March last year when the two encountered their victim. The young man had made his way along Bishops Rise to a local Co-Op store to buy some cigarettes. He was under the influence of alcohol and because of a row he'd had earlier with his girlfriend, he planned to sleep in his car, which was parked nearby.

The court was told that outside the store he got into conversation with the cousins, who offered to show him a short cut to where his car was parked. Miss Stokes said it was as they entered a darkened garage block that Doherty, of Aldykes, Hatfield, suddenly demanded the man hand over his property before punching him causing him to fall to the ground.

Judge Plumstead was told that the victim was then kicked and punched by the pair before his wallet and some house keys were stolen from him.

Saunders and Doherty made off, but their victim reported what had happened to the police. As a result, CCTV footage from the area was looked at by an investigating officer who was able to identify the cousins as the culprits and within days they had been arrested.

The court was told they had denied taking part in the robbery and only only admitted their guilt on the morning of their trial recently when they realised their courageous victim had arrived at court and was prepared to give evidence against them.

Judge Plumstead was told their victim had suffered a black eye, cuts and bruises and had been suffering loss of sleep and panic attacks since the incident.

In addition to the robbery offence, Saunders of Holwell Caravan Site, Hatfield, was in breach of a community order handed to him in 2016, which was due to run until August of this year for an offence of possessing an offensive weapon.

The Judge sentenced Doherty to 44 months in a Young Offenders' Institute. Saunders was also sentenced to 44 months in a Young Offenders' Institute, plus an extra three months for the breach of the community order.

The Judge told them: "You were both absolutely in it together on an equal basis." The Judge also said that he hoped that while serving their sentences they would take the chance of getting an education.

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