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Remorseful teen robber has jail sentence quashed

PUBLISHED: 10:03 28 January 2010 | UPDATED: 17:32 25 August 2010

A TEEN robber who teamed up with her sister to target a middle-aged man as he walked home alone was freed from jail after a top judge ruled she should never have been put behind bars. The 15-year-old, from Thanet, egged her sister on as she punched their

A TEEN robber who teamed up with her sister to target a middle-aged man as he walked home alone was freed from jail after a top judge ruled she should never have been put behind bars.

The 15-year-old, from Thanet, egged her sister on as she punched their victim twice in the mouth and snatched his briefcase in Blackheath, London's Criminal Appeal Court heard.

The girl, referred to only as L, was sentenced to a six-month detention and training order after admitting robbery at Woolwich Crown Court in October last year.

At the time of the offence, she had been living with her 18-year-old sister in south-east London and, on October 6 last year, the pair had been drinking before they went out and targeted their 54-year-old victim.

L's sister hit the man on the back of the head, before punching him twice. L then shouted: "Get his f***ing bag", before her sister snatched it and the pair ran off.

Inside the bag was a pair of sunglasses and five USB memory sticks, worth around £250 in total.

Last Friday Mr Justice Sweeney, told the court that the 15-year-old regretted the incident and wanted to live her life in a more mature way now.

The girl, who sat in the dock, had also now realised that she was very far from being able to fend for herself, the judge added.

He said that L had been in trouble with police before, but this was her first custodial sentence. She had previously been sentenced to a six-month referral order for a theft last March, and that order was extended in May for a further theft and a burglary.

In August last year she was sentenced to a supervision order for an assault - just seven weeks prior to the Blackheath robbery.

The judge, who sat with Lord Justice Dyson and Sir Christopher Holland, said: "No weapon was used. The value of the property stolen was relatively modest. L played a minor role, cooperated with police and there was clear evidence of remorse."

Concluding, he said L's sentence was "clearly manifestly excessive", given her youth. He quashed the prison term, replacing it with a supervision order for 18 months, and a requirement to attend a rehabilitation programme and she will be on an electronic curfew for three months.

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