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Man in Wrexham student robbery placed in youth custody

Published date: 27 January 2014 |
Published by: Staff reporter
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A STUDENT who was robbed at knifepoint said the man who held him up “needs to be off the streets”.

The thug who produced a kitchen-knife and robbed German exchange student Josef Stucker was told by a crown court judge he had tarnished the name of Wrexham as a university town.

Saige Floyd Hughes, 19, received 27 months youth custody after he admitted being responsible for the terrifying early-hours robbery.

After Hughes was sentenced, his victim Josef Stucker, 25, said: “It is totally right this man is off the streets. He needs to be off the streets because he could do this to someone again and next time the outcome could be a lot worse.

“I managed to get away and I am lucky to have done so. But I still try and avoid going out at night and in the dark at the moment, I'm still not myself.”

Mr Stucker, who was not hurt in the ordeal, said the attack has left a dark cloud over Wrexham’s student population.

He added: “I know other students living in the area where the robbery happened are worried and I know some of them have now been getting taxis instead of walking or have just not been going out at night at all.”

At a hearing at Mold Crown Court a robbery charge against a second man – Dean Andrew Matthews, 21, of Bersham Road – was dropped when he pleaded not guilty.

Judge Niclas Parry said Hughes robbed Mr Stucker as he walked home alone along Chapel Street in Wrexham in the early hours.

“He was confronted by you brandishing a knife,” the judge said.“He was so terrified that he dropped his wallet containing his money. This was an attack on a student which tarnished the reputation of Wrexham as a university town.”

The judge said street muggings were far too common. Knife crime was extremely serious and Hughes had an appalling criminal record for serious dishonesty and having a weapon.

Matthews admitted possessing a bolt cutter but took no part in the robbery.

“You were out, up to no good, out to commit crime,” the judge said, giving Matthews a two-month youth custody sentence, suspended for 12 months, with 50 hours’ unpaid work.

David Mainstone, prosecuting, said Mr Stucker was a German national studying at Glyndwr University in Wrexham.

He was an exchange student and on the night of January 15 he had been with friends, watching a film.

He left his friends in the early hours and was walking home alone through Chapel Street, where Hughes lived, when he passed two men on the other side of the road.

Hughes crossed the road and approached him and as he did so he produced from behind his back a large kitchen knife.

He stood a metre ahead of him, pointed the knife at him and shouted “Give me your money” before repeating the demand.

Mr Stucker sensibly produced his wallet and threw it at Hughes, before running off and raising the alarm.

Both men then ran into a nearby flat and while there had initially been some confusion about which of the men had been responsible for the robbery, CCTV showed them entering the premises with Hughes carrying the knife and Matthews carrying a pair of bolt cutters.

Police went to the flat and found the cutters, Hughes was sitting on the knife he had used in the robbery and Mr Stucker’s property was found hidden in a hole in the grate.

Both made no comment but in a prepared statement Matthews said he did not take part in the robbery.

Mr Mainstone said that was accepted and that he was the man who had been described as lurking in the shadows.Both defendants were heavily convicted in the past.

Caroline Harris, for Hughes, said it was a brave plea by her client at the preliminary stage, before prosecution evidence had been served on him. He had upped the prosecution case against him because, while he had not been identified by the victim, he had admitted he was solely responsible for the robbery. Hughes confirmed his co-defendant took no part in it.

“The motivation behind the robbery was drug related,” she said.

He was addicted to cocaine and MCAT – costing him £100 a week.

“He saw this as an opportunity to get cash to fund that habit,” Miss Harris explained.
While a knife had been produced it was not used.

Oliver King, for Matthews, said his client was now in a completely different position.

It had been accepted by the prosecution he was not involved in the robbery or its planning.

For more news from across the region visit newsnorthwales.co.uk

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