Convicted of series of offences near Richmond Park
Picture posted on Twitter purporting to show robbers with stolen bike
April 19, 2023
A teenager, who was just 15-years-old at the time of the offences, has been convicted of a series of violent robberies which targeted the owners of high value bikes near Richmond Park.
Now 17, he has been sentenced to 12 months, six months' imprisonment and six months on licence, following a hearing at Wimbledon Youth Court on Tuesday, 18 April.
Previously he had admitted two counts of moped-enabled robbery, one count of attempted robbery and possession of criminal property at Croydon Youth Court.
The first robbery took place on Thursday, 7 October 2021 when he travelled to Richmond Park on a stolen moped, accompanied by three other males.
They targeted professional cyclist Alex Richardson, who was riding a high-value bike worth £15,000 in training for an upcoming race, following him and deliberately crashing into him to knock him off.
Mr Richardson was dragged across the road at speed as he held onto his bike. He was then threatened with a large machete until he handed over his bike. He was left with injuries to his ribs, back, knees, ankles and arms and suffered head pain as a result of his head hitting the road.
Alexandar Richardson was cut and bruised during the assault. Picture: Instagram/Alexandar Richardson
This robbery was following by two further offences which took place in the vicinity of Richmond Park on Monday, 11 October 2021.
At around 5pm, a man in his 50s was confronted by the gang in Roehampton Lane however, they were unable to drive into him and he made an escape.
Moments later, the boy who has now been convicted, rode into a second man on Danebury Avenue, SW15 and stole his bike. The victim was also threatened with a machete and suffered injuries as a result of his fall. Armed officers were called to the scene after the incident.
The Operation Venice team trawled through available CCTV footage enabling it to identify the 15-year-old as its key suspect. Warrants were executed at several addresses on Friday 15 October, but the suspect was not located. The team was having a breakfast meeting to discuss its next move when the boy walked into the café at which they were eating allowing them to arrest him. A search revealed a machete tucked down his trousers, a balaclava, and a large quantity of cash.
Clothing found at properties linked to him matched the descriptions provided by the victims, while a download of his phone revealed an image of Mr Richardson’s stolen bike leaning against a wall near the park. This £15,000 stolen bike was completely custom-built and no other version of it existed. Phone data showed that the photograph was taken a couple of minutes after the robbery.
Picture of Mr Richardson's bike was found on the teenager's phone
Mr Richardson said, “This crime made me fear for my life; I thought I could be murdered at that moment and it continues to cause feelings of anxiety, stress, sleepless nights and a fear to my family’s safety to the point we have hired overnight security at our property on more than one occasion.
“I have a huge fear of riding my bike now on open roads in the UK as this could happen again at any time. My children have also been affected, they have had disturbed sleep and are traumatised by what they saw in the evening with my physical injuries.
“No one should have to feel this way. I wouldn’t want anyone to go through what I have.”
Detective Constable Ian Croxford, from Operation Venice, said, “The defendant carried out a number of terrifying offences with no regard for the safety of the victims or the injuries he could cause by ramming them off their bikes and dragging them along the road. It was only by good fortune that none of them were more seriously hurt.
“All of the victims have spoken of the effect these robberies have had on their lives. No-one should have to change the way they behave because of the violent actions of others and we are pleased that this defendant has now been prosecuted.”
DC Croxford added, “I want to sincerely thank the public who responded to our media appeal about this incident and shared videos from their cameras and CCTV.
“We would always ask victims or witnesses to contact us as soon as a robbery occurs – the ‘golden hour’ is critical to us in gathering crucial evidence and suspect descriptions which helps us to catch the offenders. We know the impact robberies have on each and every victim and we are determined to both reduce the number of offences that take place as well as improving our detection rates.”
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