A ‘despicable’ gang beat up a vulnerable man, luring him to a secluded location before launching a ‘savage’ street robbery that left the victim in hospital.
Ringleader Daniel Priest hatched the plot at McDonald’s in downtown Worcester after befriending his 23-year-old target, who has autism.
Priest and his friend, Andrew Neighbors, met the victim at Foregate Street station before driving him to a quiet street in town where they knew there was no CCTV coverage.
Others, following a second group, then beat the victim until he was bruised and bleeding, smashing his phone so he couldn’t call for help.
Priest and Neighbors had previously stolen PlayStation games from the man’s home in Kidderminster.
Neighbors had shared a video on social media of himself urinating in the victim’s bath, on the floor and on a towel.
Priest, 25, of Alderley Road, Bromsgrove and Neighbours, 34, of Jackson Street, Oldbury, admitted conspiracy to commit robbery and two other counts of robbery against the same victim which only came to light ‘After the flight.
Christian Lewis, 18, of Scott’s Road, Stourbridge also admitted to plotting to steal.
The 18-year-old allowed his phone to be used in the plot, but denied taking part in the attack himself and tried to stop others from hitting the victim. Matthew Lloyd, 18, of Duke of Edinburgh Way, Malvern, who had previously pleaded guilty to the conspiracy, did not attend the hearing.
Andrew Davidson, prosecuting, said Priest and Neighbors befriended the victim, visiting him at his home in Kidderminster.
“This, according to the prosecution, was a ruse and the purpose of the friendship was to rob him. Both men knew he was vulnerable,” he said.
He allowed them into his mother’s house where they stole a PlayStation game and an electric cigarette on January 31, 2020. They returned and stole two more games on February 6, 2020.”
The priest called the victim on February 8, 2020, asking him to come to Worcester.
The priest and neighbors suggested to the victim that they were looking for a place to eat.
“It was a lie. They were walking it to where it was to be stolen,” Mr Davidson said.
They drove past Tesco towards The Cornmarket, with a second group (those allegedly committing the theft) following them to Carden Close, the intended location of the theft. He was described as being “isolated” and having “no CCTV coverage”. They arrived around 7 p.m. The priest said he needed to relieve himself, leaving the victim with
Neighbors as the second group “closed”.
Neither the priest nor the neighbors participated in the robbery they had organized.
Mr Davison said of the gang: “They approached him and launched a savage physical assault, punching him around the head. He went to the ground and was repeatedly punched punches and kicks to the ground.
“It caused bruising, swelling and bleeding to his face and back. One of the defendants took his mobile phone and damaged it beyond repair.”
The group asked him for his bank card but he refused to give it to them. Priest then returned to the scene and called 999 saying his “friend” had been attacked.
The victim was taken by ambulance to A&E at Worcestershire Royal Hospital in Worcester and discharged the following morning. The court heard that Priest then shared photos of the victim’s injuries on a Snapchat group to “brag about the offence.”
Judge James Burbidge QC called the crimes “despicable” and jailed Priest for 20 months. The neighbors were taken into custody pending a pre-sentence report from the probation service.
Lewis, who had no previous convictions and was a youth at the time of the offence, received a 12-month community order and was ordered to perform 120 hours of unpaid labor and 10 days of work activity requirement. rehabilitation. He was given 28 days to pay £50 compensation and a statutory victim surcharge.