Robbery victim left 'shaking with fear' after attack by jail inmate on licence

A WOMAN was left shaking with fear after she was robbed of her handbag as she was walking home from a visit to her son.

She was attacked as she was going down a passage in Harehills, Leeds, when an arm suddenly went round her neck and she heard a male voice say: "Give me your bag now, I'll knife you if you don't".

Ruth Cranidge prosecuting told Leeds Crown Court yesterday the robber was Derek Mileham, who was on licence at the time from a previous jail sentence.

He had also robbed two other women in the previous four days, one of them 17 weeks pregnant and the other with her young child.

She told the court in the final robbery his victim had not heard him approach because she was partially deaf and was not wearing her hearing aid.

He began struggling with her repeatedly punching her in the ribs as he tried to pull her bag from her. She had the strap across her chest and was resisting him.

He repeated his threat and then threw her into a hedge and she noticed his hand although clenched was empty.

He was still pulling at the bag and she told him to take it as the strap snapped. He ran off and she sought the help of some people in a nearby van. They described her as frightened and physically shaking.

Police found Mileham in the area and he still had a purse, some change and lighters which were identified as his latest victim's.

Miss Cranidge said the woman was now scared to walk alone, frightened it could happen again. She now had her husband collect her from work even though it was only yards away.

Mileham, 34, of Edgeware Place, Leeds, admitted the robbery on July 15 and asked for five other dishonesty offences to be taken into consideration including the two other robberies.

Stephen Grattage, for Mileham, said he had no knife at the time of the robbery and was not deliberately punching the victim but in continually grabbing and pulling the strap accepted he would have been striking her.

Jailing Mileham for four years with an extra two years on licence, Recorder Rodney Jameson QC said he had an unenviable record including two previous convictions for robbery.

"Obviously what has been happening is that you have been in the grip of drug addiction and funding it by taking property from vulnerable women in a series of robberies," he said.

They were worrying offences and the sentence would protect the public and help him on release.