17:35 Sunday 23 February 2014

Three years jail for library attack

Written byPETER RICHARDSON

Stafford Crown Court file pictures Stafford Crown Court file pictures

THE last member of a gang of four robbers who attacked a group of young people in Burton town centre has been locked up for three years.

The gang were looking for trouble and turned violent after harassing girls in the group as they sat on the steps of Burton library, off High Street.

One of the victims, Matthew Gilbert, was kicked unconscious and robbed of cash and a mobile phone, his friend Molly Bartlett had an iPod taken, while Oliver Woods was left bleeding from the ears from kicks.

Three of the gang were caged by a judge last August, but the fourth, Shabir Khan, was given a longer term because he tried to deny it.

Khan, now 18, eventually admitted two charges of robbery and one of attempted robbery.

Judge Michael Elsom told him; “You know what the likely sentence is going to be. Those who set about people in the street and rob them must expect long sentences.”

Anees Hanif, 19, of Norfolk Road, Burton and Junaid Ali, 19, of Shobnall Street, Burton, were each sent to youth custody for 32 months, while Hamad Yaqoob, 17, of Shobnall Street, got two years detention.

Paul Spratt, prosecuting, told Stafford Crown Court that when Mr Gilbert told the gang to ‘clear off’, they turned violent.

He said: “Without warning he was kicked full in the face with considerable force and knocked out, his head banging against the wall.”

The gang attacked all the males in the group and made threats to the females.

Mr Spratt said Khan played a significant role in the robberies, delivering at least one of the kicks and gesturing to people to hand over their goods.

When questioned, Khan made no comment, even after being shown CCTV footage.

Police had to use facial recognition technology to identify him and his mobile phone showed he had to Burton the night of the robberies, January 4 last year.

Dean Kershaw, defending, said: “A large amount of alcohol had been taken - three bottles of vodka between the four of them, so one can imagine the state they must have been in.”

Khan, of Bloxwich Road, Walsall, was not party to the initial violence, but joined in after about a minute.

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