A TEENAGER from Blyton snatched a handbag from a Gainsborough pensioner before being caught by passers-by, a court heard.
The 16-year-old, who can’t be named for legal reasons, was found guilty of robbing 83-year-old Elizabeth Lamb as she walked through the Co-op multi-story car park on Beaumont Street on the morning of Tuesday 15th February 2011.
Appearing before Lincoln Magistrates Court on Thursday 26th January 2012, Miss Lamb said that she was left ‘shocked’ after a youth stole her handbag from her.
She told the court how she had been shopping and was walking back to her car when a hooded figure in red rushed past her and snatched two bags from her hand.
Despite using a walking stick, she attempted to make after the thief.
“There didn’t seem to be anybody on the ground floor of the car park,” she told the court. “To the best of my ability, I tried to run after him. I had to run up the ramp to get on to the pavement, then he ran across the road to the entrance of Marshall’s Yard when I lost site of him.”
“I was just shouting ‘stop him, stop him’ until a man came and stood by me and called the police’.”
That man was Mark Anthony Lynam, who with his friend Michael Preston Mann, gave chase to the young offender. Mr Lynam and Mr Mann were driving down Beaumont Street after having breakfast in Tesco when they became suspicious.
“A youth in red came running out of the multi-story car park and I immediately thought that he was up to no good,” said Mr Lynam. “I expected to see a security guard chasing him, but to my surprise it was an old lady.”
The court then heard how the pair followed the youth up Pingle Hill and caught him after he got stuck in some bushes near train lines to the rear of Marshall’s Yard, before escorting him to security at the shopping centre and retrieving the handbag as the teen was saying ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘I’ve never done anything like this before’.
The defendant claimed that it was a friend of his who snatched the bag and passed it to him and that he only ran away in panic.
The youth said: “It was just pure panic when I saw these grown men running towards me.”
However, magistrate Mrs H Brumpton said that the teen’s story of only running because the men were in pursuit did not match with the witness statements that they only gave chance once they saw him fleeing.
Crown prosecutor Kate Hartley told the boy: “The reason why what you are saying does not make any sense is because you are lying.”
“The evidence of the witnesses corroborates that this boy is guilty. They have taken it upon themselves as good citizens to go after a person who had robbed an old lady.”
In finding the teen guilty, Mrs Brumpton said: “We believe that you have radically changed evidence since the offence, and there are gross discrepancies between the evidence given today and that of the three witnesses - one of which was Miss Lamb who is a confident and unflustered witness. It was you who snatched the bag.”
Sentencing was adjourned until 23rd February. The youth has unconditional bail.