Robber who tore gold chain from pensioner's neck walks free - The Rugby Observer

Robber who tore gold chain from pensioner's neck walks free

Rugby Editorial 22nd Jan, 2020 Updated: 31st Jan, 2020   0

A ROBBER who snatched a treasured gold chain from a pensioner’s neck has walked free from court.

Manpreet Bhambhra had pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to robbing the 72-year-old woman – and in an ‘astonishingly rare’ move, Judge Peter Cooke decided not to jail him.

Bhambhra, 40, from Rugby, was given a 15-month prison sentence suspended for two years, and was ordered to do 150 hours of unpaid work and to pay £600 compensation to his victim.

Prosecutor Simon Burch said that at 1pm on September 9 last year the 72-year-old and a friend were walking along Manor Road.




The pensioner was wearing a £2,100 gold neck chain and pendant which was of particular sentimental value to her and her husband.

“Bhambhra walked past them and turned round to face them and grabbed the chain from round her neck, causing scratches to her neck,” said Mr Burch.


When police checked CCTV recordings from the area, Bhambhra was identified and his movement after the robbery was traced to a pawnbrokers in Church Street.

As a result, the chain, which he had sold for £565, was recovered – but not the pendant.

When Bhambhra was arrested he initially denied being responsible – but made full admissions after being shown the CCTV recording of the incident.

He explained he had a crack cocaine habit and owed money to drug dealers which he was under pressure to pay off.

In a statement read in court, his victim said the ordeal has left her struggling to sleep and scared to go out.

And of the chain, she explained it had been bought by her husband 40 years ago for his first wife, who has since died, and that she wears it ‘all the time in her memory.’

Indicating he had read a letter Bhambhra had written to him, Judge Cooke said: “He’s plainly an intelligent family man who has held down responsible jobs.

“But it’s clear he has been battling with class A drugs for some time, and he tells me he was facing increasingly unpleasant threats to repay debts.

“When he saw these two ladies walking down the street, he acted on impulse.”

Colin Charvill, defending, said Bhambhra, who has been taking steps to address his drug use, was the primary carer for his two children.

Sentencing Bhambhra, and also ordering him to take part in a rehabilitation activity, Judge Cooke told him: “I hope you understand how astonishingly rare it is for anyone to stand before a crown court and to walk out through the public door after admitting a street robbery, particularly of a lady of advanced years.

“But it is an important factor that you have got to the age of 40 without behaving in this way before.

“You acknowledge you have a problem with class A drugs, which have blighted your life, any you have a determination to do something about it.

“I accept you are completely contrite about what you have done, and that the last thing you want is ever to put another lady through what you put this lady through.

“This is an opportunity to address the underlying problems. It is a chance you could very easily blow, but if you come back having let me down, your feet won’t touch the ground.”

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