Alex Britton, for Lawton’s who represented the offender, told Judge John Plumstead that his client had written him a letter expressing his regret for what he’d done. 

 

A man who chased another young man through Watford town centre and robbed him of £50 has been shown mercy by a judge and given a suspended prison sentence.

 

Judge Plumstead, sitting at St Albans Crown Court, heard how the defendant – who has been diagnosed as suffering from paranoid schizophrenia- had stopped taking his medication and was on drink and drugs when he went after the other man.

 

In court the 26 year old, who lives in Luton, pleaded guilty to robbery and assault by beating.

 

The court heard that his victim had been out in Watford town centre on the night of November 6th last year. Also out in The Parade that night was the defendant.

 

Prosecutor Maria Henty said that the two men were known to each other, although by that night they had not had any contact for some time. But on seeing the victim, the defendant walked over to him and demanded money from him and began patting him down. The court was told he then punched the man in the face who, fearing for his safety, ran off.

 

Miss Henty said it was the start of an 800 metre chase along The Parade and the High Street before the victim ran into Charter Place and the YMCA building. There he tried to hide behind a bike rack, where the defendant found him and punched him in the face, splitting his lip. He then took £50 from the victim before making off.

 

The judge was shown CCTV footage of the chase.

 

The court was told that the defendant had stopped taking his medication for his mental health condition at the time, and had also been drinking when the offence occurred. Passing sentence, Judge Plumstead told the defendant “You know what you did was disgraceful and you say you are sorry.”

 

The judge told him he was going to give him a chance by not sending him to prison, but warned him he had to stay away from alcohol and illicit drugs which, because of his condition, badly affected the way he behaved.

 

He sentenced him to 18 months suspended for 18 month and said he must pay his victim £50 compensation.

 

“Take this as a chance to live a decent life” he told him