Pair accused of laptop robbery

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TWO men have gone on trial accused of robbing a woman of a laptop computer in a frightening daylight mugging.

Martin Casey, 27, and Philip Hewitson, 31, are alleged to have pounced on market researcher Claire Wilson while she was working in Hartlepool.

Teesside Crown Court heard how Miss Wilson was robbed by two men from behind who stole her work laptop which was in a bag over her shoulder.

It happened as she carried out door-to-door inquiries in Hart Lane on the afternoon of Saturday, January 15.

The court heard Miss Wilson had seen two men when she knocked on doors in streets around Hopps Street and saw the same men again when she was in Hart Lane.

Tamara Pawson, prosecuting, said: “The males were behind her when she was suddenly pushed from behind and felt somebody tugging at the shoulder strap of her laptop bag.

“She screamed and struggled to stay upright and clung on to the strap.”

The victim fell to the ground when her coat hood was pulled over her head and the shoulder strap snapped.

Miss Pawson added: “She looked up and saw the two males she had seen in Hart Lane running away from her. The laptop bag was being carried by them.”

She called the police and two police community safety officers (PCSOs) on duty nearby in Collingwood Road came across Casey and Hewitson, the court heard.

The prosecution say Casey was holding a laptop bag which he dropped behind a parked car when he saw the officers.

Miss Wilson later identified the bag as the one stolen from her in the robbery.

In interview, Casey, of Warren Road, Hartlepool, said he had been walking along the street with Hewitson when Hewitson grabbed the woman’s bag and he followed when Hewitson ran away.

Hewitson, of Rodney Street, Hartlepool, denied responsibility when he was quizzed.

Both deny the charge of robbery.

The trial continues.