Teen locked up for mugging bid

A TEENAGER who tried to mug a frightened woman after going on a drink and drug binge when he learned his mum had terminal cancer has been locked up.

Johnny Ward tried to pull the victim’s handbag from her in a dark car park but she bravely clung on.

He carried out the terrifying attempted robbery after taking pills and drink when he found out about his mother’s illness.

The 19-year-old pounced on the woman as she tried to get into her car in the Hartlepool United car park in Raby Road, Hartlepool, on Friday, November 30, a court heard.

But he fled empty-handed after the woman bravely held on despite a struggle.

Teesside Crown Court heard how Ward, who was with another male, struck from behind, at around 4.30pm when it would have been dark.

Sharon Elves, prosecuting, said: “As she started to close the door he took hold and pulled it open.

“The defendant shouted ‘give me your bag now’ before he grabbed hold of her bag which was still on her shoulder.

“The complainant managed to keep hold of it but was pulled from the car and ended on the ground.”

Ward kicked her in an attempt to get the bag, but gave up and ran off.

Jim Withyman, mitigating, said Ward decided to do it after drowning his sorrows following the bad news about his mother.

Mr Withyman said he had shown “real remorse” and appealed for leniency given the tragic circumstances.

He said: “He greatly regretted it when he sobered up and realises the consequences for that woman, his mother and himself.”

Ward, of Elwick Road, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to attempted robbery.

He was given 20 months youth custody.

Judge Howard Crowson said: “I think you know there’s really no alternative but a custodial sentence. The question is whether I can be merciful to its length.

“You picked on a vulnerable woman, a matter which you are now ashamed of which will be little comfort to her.

“It was, no doubt, a terrifying experience with you shouting at her to give up her bag and she being brave enough to fight you off.”