Youths jailed for robbery - Luton


Three youths who caught the train from Luton to Bedford to rob people on the street were locked up today, Thursday, 30 May 2013.

Sokol Gaxha, 19:  Ateeq Tariq, 22: and a 17-year-old were sentenced to a total of 72 months by Judge Michael Kay QC who said: "The message has to be sent to those who choose to commit offences like these that they will get no sympathy from the court and go straight to custody."

Ben Gumpert  prosecuting for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) told Luton Crown Court the three were in an group of five who went up to Bedford late at night "to get up to no good." The 17-year-old had with him a machete.

Near the town centre Gaxha and Tariq confronted student Kimberley Smith as she walked home and tried to take her handbag. She was pushed to the ground and one of them yanked her bag from her.

She later told the police: "I was getting scared. I thought I was gong to be attacked or raped. Since the robbery I have been scared to go out alone. I have changed my route home from University."

The 17-year-old, who was nearby, sent a text message to Gaxha and Tariq after seeing the police come to the girl's aid. He said: "Feds just picked up girl. What you take?"One replied: "Just a handbag, bro."

Armed with the machete, which had a two foot blade, the 17-year-old then threatened Edward Walker as he walked home, ordering him to hand over his phone. He then searched him and stole his wallet, which contained US dollars.  He told him: "Don't try anything or I will cut you."

The police arrived at Bedford railway station and arrested the three. When they were searched the dollar bills had been divided between the three. The machete had been abandoned at a shed nearby.

Tariq of Lincoln Road, Luton and Gaxha of Farley Fields, Luton pleaded guilty to robbing Kimberley Smith. The 17-year-old pleaded guilty to robbing Edward Walker and having a knife. The offences all took place on 4 February this year.  Tariq had one previous conviction and Gaxha had two previous convictions. The 17- year- old had 22 previous convictions.

Andrew Kerry, for Tariq and Gaxha, asked for credit for their guilty pleas describing them as "immature young men."

For the 17 -year -old Sally Jackson said no violence had been used and that he had wanted to impress the others.

Sentencing them Judge Kay said: "People should be able to walk the streets in any town at any time of day or night without getting robbed. Behaviour of this type causes fear and ruins people's lives.

Tariq and Gaxha were sentenced to 16 months and the 17 -year -old to 3 years and 4 months.

Please note -  all court copies are provided by South Beds News Agency, who retain the copyright for all articles published.