Jail term for robber who rang victim’s friends

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A ROBBER has been jailed for public protection after a court heard he attacked a woman on her doorstep after following her home and later phoned some of her friends using the mobile he had stolen from her.

Carl Cornforth pretended to have just bought the phone and expressed concern for the robbery victim, whose head he had repeatedly banged into a wall, but one of the people he called recognised his voice from a shop where she worked and was able to pass on vital information to the police leading to his arrest.

Leeds Crown Court heard yesterday Cornforth had a history of attacking women, having sexually assaulted one and tried to strangle others in the past.

On August 20, six months after the end of his licence from his previous extended jail sentence, he saw a 22-year-old woman walking home alone in the Woodhouse Lane area of Leeds.

She had been out socialising with friends and left a club at around 3am.

She had noticed Cornforth sitting on the opposite side of the road but told police later she did not think anything of it, believing he was waiting for someone.

But having reached the block of flats where she lived, she was attacked from behind as she was removing her keys from her bag.

Cornforth put an arm around her throat, causing her to drop forward on to her knees, and then began banging her forehead repeatedly against the wall in front of her while shouting “Give me your wallet.”

He was pulling at her handbag and she told him he could have what he wanted if he would leave her alone, Patrick Gallagher, prosecuting, told the court.

His response was to tighten his grip around her throat so she was struggling to breathe. Terrified, she told him he was killing her and he finally loosened his grip.

She was going to give him £5 from her bag but when items spilled from it he saw her mobile phone and grabbed it, telling her: “You’re not having your phone either” before running off.

Mr Gallagher said the victim was treated at St James’s Hospital for cuts and bruises as well as a lump on her forehead which caused headaches.

Cornforth subsequently accessed her telephone address book and started calling her female friends. Police feared he might have had a “more sinister motive” in ringing them and his offer to return it but he was arrested before taking it further and the phone was recovered from under his pillow.

The court heard he had been jailed for six years in 1999 for attacking two women. In one incident he had dragged his victim into bushes and sexually assaulted her, in another he put a neck tie over her head and began strangling her.

He received four years in prison in 2004 with three years extended licence for robbing one woman of her bag after attacking her in a car park and trying to rob another who pulled off the balaclava he was wearing and was able to describe him to police.

Cornforth, 33, of Twenty-Twenty House, Skinner Lane, Leeds, admitted the robbery in August.

Recorder Ian Harris imposed an indeterminate jail sentence for public protection and ordered he serve a minimum of two years three months minus the time he has spent on remand in custody.

He told him he was satisfied he was manipulative and posed a future risk to the public.

Graham Parkin, representing Cornforth, said his client had managed to keep out of trouble while on licence, which demonstrated he had made efforts, and he also had the support of a couple who had previously given him a home.