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Gang sentenced for city centre robberies

|News, Violent crime

A gang of six people who terrorised and robbed teenagers in Liverpool city centre have been given sentences ranging from two-and-a-half-years to four-and-a-half years in Youth Offender Institutions.

The Crown Prosecution Service said the gang stole phones from young teenagers by threatening to stab them if they did not give them the phone passwords and disable the phone’s security.

The robberies happened in the daytime in the last weeks of September and first weeks of October 2019, mainly around St John’s Gardens and Chavasse Park in Liverpool.

The gang’s method appeared to be to approach a group of young people, separate them off and then threaten a couple of them with violence if they did not hand over their often expensive phones.

The robberies left many of the young victims in fear of their lives and they have suffered debilitating anxiety since.

Several of those sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court on 13 November 2020 are youths and cannot be named because of their age.

A 17-year-old youth was sentenced to three years and two months in a Young Offender Institution (YOI) for nine counts, including possession of a knife and conspiracy to rob.

Ghaith Bukhary, 19, was sentenced to three years and nine months in a YOI for conspiracy to commit robbery and having a knife.

Omar Sanad, 18, was sentenced to four years and six months in a YOI for two counts of possessing a knife and one of conspiracy to commit a robbery.

Another 17-year-old youth was sentenced to a two year Youth Rehabilitation Order (YRO) with Intensive Supervision and Surveillance (ISS) and Electronic Monitoring and curfew between 7pm to 7am for three months, a 90-day activity requirement and 24 months' supervision for conspiracy to commit a robbery and breaching bail conditions.

Another 17-year-old youth was sentenced to three years and one month in a YOI for three counts of conspiracy to commit robbery.

And Sallal Hussein, 31, was sentenced to two years and six months' imprisonment for three counts of joint enterprise possession of a knife and conspiracy to rob.

The gang were eventually traced by fingerprints and DNA on a phone case that was left in a phone shop where they had tried to sell one of the stolen items.

They were also traced after a couple of the victims who were on  a bus in the city centre spotted members of the gang as they tried to sell stolen phones in a second hand shop and were fortunately able to get a friend to take photographs, after their own phones had been stolen that day.

Ben Jones prosecuted the case for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). The trial Judge, HHJ Woodhall, recognised that the investigation had been extremely diligent, working backwards to identify all similar “cold case” robberies in the area and recommended the officer in charge, Alex Rudzinski, for a commendation by the Chief Constable.

Senior Crown Prosecutor Leigh Ann Wardman, of CPS Mersey Cheshire, said: “This gang carried out a number of robberies in the city centre of Liverpool in broad daylight and left their victims terrified.

“They made it clear to their young victims that they were armed and would use the knives if necessary to force the young people to give them the phones and the passwords. The long term impacts on the victims has been clear from the Victim Personal Statements presented to the court.

“This has been a complex case with six defendants who were charged with conspiracy to commit robbery and possession of bladed articles. There was a considerable amount of evidence including a substantial volume of cell site and telephone evidence.

“They pleaded guilty or were convicted after trial, thanks to the strength of the case which was the result of close working between Merseyside Police and the Crown Prosecution Service.

“I would like to thank the victims and their families for their help in bringing this prosecution and hope that the conclusion helps them move forward with their lives.”

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