Belfast Telegraph

'Bully' beat and robbed frail woman for mobile phone and loose coins

'I'm going to kill you' robber told woman, court hears

By Alan Erwin

A serial criminal who battered and robbed a frail woman in her home won his appeal today against being jailed indeterminately.

Although senior judges described Edward Cambridge as a "bully" who targets vulnerable victims, they overturned the decision to impose "a sentence of last resort".

Setting aside the five year indeterminate term, they instead ordered him to serve 10 years with an extra three years on licence.

Holding that the 23-year-old does pose a significant risk to the public, Lord Justice Gillen said: "There is an air of gathering momentum about this violent offending."

Cambridge's latest victim, a 58-year-old woman who suffered from spinal problems, arthritis and asthma, was attacked in June 2013.

He broke into her apartment at sheltered accommodation in north Belfast, demanded money and her bank account details before launching the attack.

The Court of Appeal heard Cambridge repeatedly punched her about the head, saying: "Do you know who I am? I'm Gary Wade from Mount Vernon. Where is your money? I'm going to kill you."

He fled taking the woman's mobile phone and a few loose coins.

Cambridge was later arrested on north Belfast's Shore Road carrying a belt.

His victim sustained two black eyes, severe facial swelling and welts to her thigh, apparently from being hit by a strap.

She also had to undergo a brain scan and has suffered post-traumatic stress disorder.

Cambridge, formerly of Green End in Newtownabbey, later pleaded guilty to robbery and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Further counts of burglary and threats to kill, which he denied, were left on the books.

His 27 previous convictions stretch back to criminal damage and assault he carried out at the age of 12.

Cambridge's record include thefts, burglaries and an aggravated assault on a female or boy aged under 14.

He carried out the robbery while on probation for a sexual assault on a 12-year-old girl.

Sentencing him at Belfast Crown Court last June, the judge concluded that he does pose a risk of inflicting serious harm on members of the public.

Lord Justice Gillen rejected Cambridge's appeal against this finding, describing it as "flawless".

He said: "The current offence - yet another example of a bullying attack on a vulnerable person - was without doubt a significant escalation in the pattern of offending in which the physical harm may well have been much less serious and of shorter effect than the psychological harm inflicted on this defenceless and inform woman."

The judge decided, however, that while the robbery and assault were serious they did not merit an indeterminate sentence.

He instead imposed an extended custodial sentence of 10 years plus another three years on licence.

It means Cambridge will only be eligible for release after serving five years in prison if the Parole Commissioners are satisfied he does not pose a significant risk of serious harm to the public.

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