‘Original Heavyweight’ robber dragged pensioner down the street

George Johnson

George Johnson

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A FEARSOME robber who dragged a pensioner down the street while stealing her handbag has been jailed.

George Johnson, 29 – who appeared in court wearing a sweatshirt with The Original Heavyweight across the chest – tried to steal the purse of a 63-year-old as she walked home from the shops.

The victim, who suffered bruising to her forearms, and stiffness and swelling in her shoulder, is barely five feet tall and weighs just eight stone.

Prosecutor Michael Bunch said several passers-by saw the robbery and one of them followed Johnson but lost him in a nearby alley.

Police went to his home and his mother showed them up to his room where they found the pensioner’s mobile phone on his bed.

Police returned the phone to the woman who was still sitting on the pavement around the corner from Johnson’s house in Whitehall Terrace, Hylton Road.

Mr Bunch added: “The victim is extremely angry at what happened and said ‘why should bullies like him get away with it?’”

Johnson, who has a previous conviction for theft of a mobile phone, was arrested, but the bag and its contents were never recovered.

He appeared at Newcastle Crown Court yesterday, having admitted the February 17 robbery.

Mitigating, Alec Burns said that the victim’s injuries were not severe and Johnson’s guilty plea stopped her from having to go to court to give evidence.

Sentencing Johnson to 32 months in jail, Judge Roger Thorn said: “You are a large man and some might say fearsome looking.

“You carried out a daylight robbery on a 63-year-old woman who was going about her business in public.

“You tried to steal her bag. She bravely resisted. You dragged her to the floor. She continued to resist.

“Because of your size and demeanour, you eventually managed to get the bag off her.”

After Johnson taken to the cells, Judge Thorn added: “I would like to pay credit to the tenacity of the victim, but also to the member of the public that gave chase allowing the defendant to be brought to this court.” He ordered £250 of public money to be awarded to each for their bravery.