A robber has been given a suspended sentence after he escaped with a teenage girl’s mobile phone after pulling her hair as she struggled in a Watford churchyard.
Jamie Bishop, 27, had a ‘tug of war’ with the 15-year-old who had gone into the town centre with a friend for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown.
After the robbery, the girl called her father, and he was able to track Bishop’s location on the Find My Phone app. The police were told where he was and arrested him.
He told the officers the two girls had been rude to him, St Albans Crown Court heard Thursday, November 26.
Prosecutor Stefan Weidmann said the teenager, who is of slight build and 5ft 1ins tall, and her friend were relaxing on a bench in St Mary’s churchyard when Bishop approached them.
Mr Weidmann said: “The girls were rightly wary. They made it clear they did not want to speak to him. He went away but returned and grabbed her telephone.
“She did not give it up lightly. There was a tug of war as she tried to retain possession.
“He pulled her hair, and some came out. Unsurprisingly, he overpowered her. She was only a small girl but had got a lot more bottle than he had been bargaining for.”
In a victim statement the girl said she had not been back into Watford Town Centre since. She said she hoped to return one day in a big group.
Bishop, of no fixed address, appeared for sentence having pleaded guilty to robbing the girl on 6th July this year.
Rosie Slowe, defending, said that at the time Bishop was living in a car, having lost his accommodation.
“The girls were dismissive and rude, and he said he heard them snigger that he had COVID-19. He felt provoked. It was an illogical tit-for-tat in the spur of the moment,” she said.
He had been in custody since July 7, the equivalent of a nine-month jail sentence.
Judge Richard Foster told him: “You should be ashamed of yourself. You snatched her phone and when it was traced you said it was because they were rude to you. It was quite disgraceful behaviour.”
He passed a 12-month jail sentence suspended 18 months. Bishop must carry out 100 hours’ unpaid work and attend 30 days’ rehabilitation.