Five young men who robbed a 16 year old boy of his belongings in a violent attack in the a Watford Car Park in November last year have pleaded guilty at St Albans Crown Court.
Richard Batchelor, aged 19, formerly of Rushton Avenue, Watford, pleaded guilty to robbery. Sentenced to five years and two months in a Young Offenders’ Institute (YOI). On release, he will be on a two-year Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO) which bans him from Watford town centre.
Rickarlo Williams (pictured middle), aged 19, formerly of Harrow, north London, pleaded guilty to robbery and assault of an emergency worker. Sentenced to three years and six months in a YOI and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £190.
Jahni Menzie-Samuels (pictured bottom), aged 19, formerly of Harrow, north London, pleaded guilty to robbery and criminal damage, receiving a three year and four month sentence to be carried out in a YOI. He too was ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £190.
Joshua Olorunfemi, aged 18, of Chester Road, Watford, also pleaded guilty to robbery and received a one-year Youth Rehabilitation Order (YRO) plus a 12-month supervision order. In addition, he will be required to undertake 90 hours of unpaid work.
All four were sentenced at St Albans Crown Court on Friday 5 November.
A 17 year old male from Watford, who cannot be named due to reporting restrictions, spent five months on remand prior to sentencing. He previously pleaded guilty to robbery and appeared at St Albans Crown Court on Tuesday 11 May this year, where he was given a two-year CBO. This prohibits him from entering Watford town centre and associating with Batchelor. He also received a YRO, a three-month tagged curfew and 100 hours of unpaid work.
The court heard how the incident began on The Parade in the High Street on Monday 9 November last year, when all five offenders surrounded the victim – a 16 year old boy who was visiting from out of town.
They pushed him to the ground and dragged him into the lobby of the Gade Car Park before stealing his coat, headphones, wallet and mobile phone.
A short time later Williams, Menzie-Samuels and Olorunfemi were arrested by police officers nearby, who recovered the victim’s property and returned it to him.
Williams made off before again being detained on King Street and assaulting the police officer who arrested him. Menzie-Samuels ran from the scene and got into a taxi, which was tracked and stopped by officers. He got out of the taxi, causing damage to the vehicle and police car as he did so, and ran off. He was detained a few minutes later after being found hiding in bushes in Century Retail Park off Dalton Way.
The remaining offenders – Batchelor and the 17 year old male – were both arrested a week later following CCTV enquiries before being charged and remanded in custody.
PC Claudia McCready, who carried out the investigation, said: “This was a really challenging crime to investigate, not least because the victim was vulnerable. They were left understandably distressed by what had happened to them but they felt they could not support police action.
“However we chose to pursue a victimless prosecution due to the seriousness of the offence, which was witnessed by members of the public in broad daylight in one of the busiest areas of the town.
“The group showed complete disregard for both the victim and others, and clearly did not think twice about committing this crime.
“I would like to publicly praise the diligent work of Assistant Investigator Zoe Brunt who secured the vital Criminal Behaviour Orders for both Batchelor and the 17 year old male.
“Violent crime will not be tolerated in Watford and we will continue to protect the public by cracking down hard on those who carry out these despicable offences.”