Knife mugger behind bars

Preston Crown Court
Preston Crown Court
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A TEENAGER who carried out a street mugging, holding a knife to his victim’s throat, has been put behind bars.

Preston Crown Court heard how Nathan Stewart initially helped two students get a drunken friend home safely and was invited to enjoy a few drinks with them.

Nathan Stewart

Nathan Stewart

But when walking home with one of the students, he robbed the man of a mobile phone and wallet at the junction of Fisher Street and Buchanan Street.

Stewart, 18, of Lytham Road, South Shore, had admitted the robbery, which took place on March 9 when he was aged 17.

He asked for eight offences of thefts from vehicles, plus one attempted theft to be considered when sentencing.

Lisa Bakker, prosecuting, said two students came across the defendant while helping a drunken friend get home safely. He approached offered to help and they willingly accepted.

He was invited back to one of their flats for a few drinks. He drank Jack Daniels out of a pint glass while there.

About 40 minutes later one of them decided to leave. Stewart said he would walk with him as they were heading in the same direction.

When they reached the junction of Fisher Street and Buchanan Street, they should have gone their separate ways.

But Miss Bakker said: “The defendant pulled out a knife and held it to his neck, saying ‘give me all you’ve got’. It was either a flick knife or a pen knife, with a three- to four-inch blade.

“An iPhone4 was handed over and a wallet containing bank cards. The defendant told him to walk away and not to look back. This was shortly before 1am.”

Stewart was arrested in May after a police officer heard about the offence and “put two and two together”, said the prosecution. This was after hearing a description of the thief and the fact the he had told them he was called Nathan.

The defendant was later picked out on an identity parade.

Chris Hudson, defending, said Stewart had never offended up until this year. He took the drug mephedrone and a “spectacular burst of offending” followed.

The robbery had been a mean offence and a serious crime, he said.

Mr Hudson added: “I had thought there was no alternative to a custodial sentence, but I have changed my mind.

“He has not offended since August and seems to have turned a corner. I am asking the court to consider deferring sentence. He is worth the risk.

“The offences were carried out to fund a drug habit. There is no suggestion he has used drugs more recently.”

But in handing Stewart two years in youth custody, Judge Michael Byrne told him the incident had clearly been a terrifying one for the victim.

He added: “Cold steel was physically held to his neck. No doubt the incident is frozen in his mind.

“Our communities look to the courts to protect them from offences of this sort and to make, as far as possible, public highways for people to go about their lawful business without the fear and apprehension of being subject to incidents of this sort.

“Street robberies of this sort are prevalent.”

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