Daytime knifepoint robbery in Ripon left ‘little boy crying’
Oct 19, 2021
John Paul Wilson led the robbery.

Two knifepoint robbers threatened to “shank” a young boy as they stripped him of precious items including his jewellery and mobile phone.

The terrifying incident in Ripon had the boy in tears as other youths laughed at the spectacle, York Crown Court heard.

The teenage victim was sat with friends on a bench outside the Ship Inn on Bondgate when he was approached by John Paul Wilson, 21, from Harrogate, and others including a youth — the second robber who cannot be named for legal reasons.

Prosecutor Michael Cahill said that as the victim’s friends got up to leave, the teenager himself was blocked from doing so by Wilson’s sidekick.

“They waited until the (victim’s) friends had walked out of sight (and then) both (robbers) began to remove his jewellery, his Nike shoes and his phone,” added Mr Cahill.

“They then threatened him with a knife, and he was told that if he “did not hand everything over, he would be shanked”.

“The other individuals (who were with Wilson and the youth) watched this and at one point they were laughing,” said Mr Cahill.

The Ship Inn, Bondgate in Ripon.

The Ship Inn, Bondgate in Ripon.

The victim, who had been surrounded by the group, took off his trainers as instructed and handed over his phone and jewellery including a silver chain.

“They then demanded he come with them around the back of the Ship Inn,” said Mr Cahill.

“When he told them he didn’t want to, they ordered him to come with them as a knife was held to his upper leg.

“He was told he would be stabbed if he didn’t comply,” added Mr Cahill.

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A witness called the victim’s father who rushed to the scene and ran towards the group, shouting at them.

The robbers handed back the phone and ran off with the other youths, taking the trainers and jewellery.

Previous convictions

However, they were later arrested and charged with robbery and possessing a blade. They admitted robbery but neither accepted they were the one carrying the knife.

The prosecution ultimately accepted this, although there was no argument that it was a knifepoint robbery.

Wilson and his teenage co-defendant appeared for sentence on the robbery charge on Tuesday after being remanded in custody.

Mr Cahill said the victim was left in tears following the incident on August 13 which made him “extremely nervous”.

The court heard that Wilson had previous convictions for 12 offences including robbery, battery and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

The youth had four previous convictions for offences including possessing a weapon, criminal damage and serious violence. They had both served youth detention orders in the past.

Difficult childhood

Lauren Hebditch, for Wilson, said he had endured a difficult childhood and had effectively been living rough at the time of the incident.

“He says he can’t even imagine how scared the victim must have been.”

Rob Stephenson, for the youth, said he too had had a “turbulent and unhappy” upbringing but said there was a “degree of peer pressure” from Wilson to commit the robbery with him.

Judge Sean Morris, the Recorder of York, criticised the pair for the appalling daytime attack which was “prolonged” and left “a little boy crying”.

“You were the oldest of the two and you were more criminally experienced. You were playing to the gallery of other youths who found it at times amusing.

“You reduced your (victim) to tears and threatened him (with being) knifed or ‘shanked’.

“A knife was used to keep him detained and to lead him round the back of that pub, well out of sight, and I’m satisfied that you would have been the leading role in this group, and I’m satisfied that you exercised a degree of influence on your co-accused.

“Your victim was a lone (teenager) abandoned by his friends at the start of this incident and surrounded by a group, with you at the forefront.”

Banned from Ripon town centre

Wilson, of Newby Crescent, Harrogate, was jailed for three-and-a-half years and given a five-year restraining order banning him from contacting the victim or going anywhere near his address.

Mr Morris said he was satisfied that it was only due to the “malign influence” of Wilson that the youth joined in the robbery.

He said he believed the youth could “start afresh” in life, partly because he had work lined up.

The youth was given a three-year youth-rehabilitation order which the judge said was an “exceptional” sentencing decision. He told him he had come very close to going to prison.

The order includes a 91-day rehabilitation programme, supervision and a six-month doorstep curfew.

In addition, the judge made an exclusion order banning the youth from Ripon town centre for the next 12 months, except in the company of youth-justice officers or guardians. He too was made subject to the same restraining order as Wilson.

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