Man jailed for three years after robbing 12-year-old girl
A man jailed for three years for robbing a 12-year-old girl of her mobile phone picked on his victim because she was "easy prey".
Slovakian Patrik Gunar, who admitted the offence, was arrested after Derbyshire Police released shocking CCTV footage of the girl bravely trying to fend off her attacker, before he fled with her iPhone 6 on February 18.
The force thanked a number of celebrities, including Piers Morgan, Nick Knowles, Michael Vaughan and Gaby Roslin, for retweeting their appeal after the incident.
The 22-year-old sobbed throughout the hearing as the judge commented on the "preposterous" stories he had claimed were the reasons for committing the offence.
The schoolgirl fought against Gunar for 25 seconds in Cambridge Street, Derby, as she was on her way home from buying some cauliflower for her mother in what was described as a "sustained" attack.
In an interview with police, the defendant told officers "she was just a little girl" and that she was "easy prey".
Appearing at Derby Crown Court on Monday, Gunar of Becher Street, Derby, pleaded guilty to a single charge of robbery as his family watched on from the public gallery.
Judge Nirmal Shant QC told Gunar: "I have seen CCTV footage of what you did... on that day and what you did was walk past a 12-year-old complainant, decided she was easy prey and chose her deliberately because of her age and vulnerability.
"What can be seen on screen is that you were determined to get it off her despite her best efforts to stop you from doing so.
"You held onto that phone while you ragged her about on the floor. She continued bravely to hold onto her phone but you carried on."
The judge added: "You made up a preposterous story to explain your involvement in this saying that you had been effectively held at gunpoint or injected with drugs to perform this robbery.
"You deliberately targeted a 12-year-old - taking the view no doubt that you could easily take the phone from her."
Opening the case against Gunar, prosecutor Mark Watson said: "He knows she is there because he turns quickly, decidedly walks to her and goes straight for her pocket in which her iPhone 6 was.
"To her enormous credit, she tried to hold on to it. As a result she is ragged about, firstly on her feet and then on the floor.
"Even when they fall to the ground he continues to forcibly pull at the phone in her pocket and this lasts about 30 seconds."
Mr Watson said the victim had screamed throughout and at some point, common sense kicked in because she was worried the defendant had a knife.
In a victim personal statement which Mr Watson summarised to the court, the girl described how she is now too afraid to go outside for even a few minutes "in case they were going to get her again".
Daniel Church, defending, said: "He has shown some evidence of remorse in this case. I accept from the outset that this act is utterly despicable."
He added that Gunar was "ashamed" of his behaviour and that he had made no attempt to conceal his identity from police.