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Jail for 92-year-old's £5 mugger

Published 13/04/2015

Stanley Evans, 93, at his home in London, as Solomon Bygraves was jailed after mugging him for five pounds in January
Stanley Evans, 93, at his home in London, as Solomon Bygraves was jailed after mugging him for five pounds in January
A CCTV still of Solomon Bygraves, who admitted knocking down 92-year-old pensioner Stanley Evans for just five pounds (Metropolitan Police)

An "exceedingly large" robber who knocked over and hurt a frail 92-year-old pensioner to steal just £5 has been jailed for 30 months.

Solomon Bygraves, 29, conned his victim Stanley Evans by pretending he was going to help him with his wheelie bag as he returned from a shopping trip.

But once in the block of flats he lunged for the pensioner's wallet, knocking Mr Evans to the ground.

In shocking CCTV footage played at London's Southwark Crown Court, Bygraves is then seen to run off as the grey-haired pensioner falls to the floor. He remained lying in the entrance to the flats in Soho, central London, for ten minutes after the attack on January 31.

Bygraves, who has 21 convictions for 49 different offences including two for robbery, smirked during parts of the sentence.

The judge, Recorder Andrew Mitchell QC, said the attack on Mr Evans, now 93, could have been fatal.

He said: "The victim in the case could easily have died, not through any other reason than just snatching something from him, and causing him therefore to fall down, and he could have just gone at that age."

He added: "He was a very small, frail man and your client must be more than 6ft."

The court heard Bygraves was out on bail for a domestic matter at the time of the attack.

He was coming down from Class A drugs when he spotted the "vulnerable old man" return home with his shopping.

Richard Sedgwick, prosecuting, said: "Mr Bygraves is an exceedingly large man. There appears to be some evidence of targeting - the age and the size difference point to that.

"Mr Evans presents as an easy victim."

Outlining the attack, he said: "Mr Evans is returning to his block of flats with his shopping. He is 92 years-old.

"The defendant follows him in behind him. There is a conversation. Mr Evans recalls it as being about visiting a friend inside the block of flats and helping him with his shopping.

"Mr Evans then waits for a lift. The defendant returns, accosts him, takes Mr Evans' wallet from him causing Mr Evans to fall to the floor where he is unable to rise from for some time."

The pensioner, a retired camera assistant who worked on films including the 1947 classic Brighton Rock, eventually managed to get to his feet and call 999. The attack was branded as "totally unprovoked, callous and sickening" by police.

Mr Evans suffered a shoulder and arm injury in the incident.

Bygraves, who has bipolar disorder, initially denied the crime. He said he went over to Mr Evans because he looked ill, the pensioner collapsed and he "panicked" and ran off.

But he later admitted it and has written a letter of "remorse" to the judge.

In his victim impact statement, Mr Evans said: "I believe that the man who robbed me should be punished for attacking a 93-year-old pensioner.

"He should not abuse his strength.

"He tried to con me by offering to help me with my bags, I believe purely to get into the block of flats to rob me.

"I believe the public would be served for him to be in prison for a long time for his cowardly attack."

The pensioner described how he suffered an injury to his left shoulder and struggled to get up from the floor following the attack.

He said: "I was in pain for three weeks and am still suffering now.

"I was left on the floor after the robbery and couldn't get myself up for nearly ten minutes due to the pain and shock. Due to my age I found it very difficult to get up.

"I'm independently minded and determined not to allow this to change how I live or where or when I go out."

The judge praised Mr Evans and his comments in his victim impact statement.

He said: "This was a 92-year-old man going about his business.

"It was a remarkable victim impact statement. It is commendable, it shows a man of independence and maturity and understanding and appreciation."

The judge said the victim's old age and Bygraves' youth and stature were aggravating factors.

He said: "The victim was 92-years-old. You, a young, tall and fit man.

"It may have been that this was unplanned and opportunistic, however you identified your victim and followed him into the entrance to the flats where he lived, and you had no right to be."

In a letter to the judge Bygraves admitted the attack was the "most horrible, horrific, shameful crime" he has committed.

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