May 22 2013 Latest news:
by Court Reporter
Friday, May 25, 2012
A free “app” has helped jail a South Tottenham mugger who prised an iPhone from a shocked commuter’s hands.
Munya Chimutengwende was sentenced to 18 months in prison after police tracked him down with the help of the “Find My iPhone” app, which uses GPS to locate missing smartphones.
The 21-year-old, of Talbot Road, was arrested in a branch of McDonald’s in Wood Green shortly after police found the handset in a nearby mobile phone shop - a little over two miles from the spot where he had taken it out of David Landy’s hands as he checked his messages outside Manor House Tube station at about 5.50pm on January 3.
Prosecutor Mandy McLean told Snaresbrook Crown Court how Mr Landy originally tried to hold onto the phone, but gave up after the two men ended up struggling on the floor.
Mr Landy - who is nervous using public transport as a result of the robbery - then reported the theft to an officer, who was able to use the app to find the phone which had just been sold for £270 in cash.
When Chimutengwende was arrested shortly afterwards, he was carrying the same amount in cash.
Ayesha Khan, defending, said the robbery was a “snatch that went wrong” and urged the judge to impose a suspended sentence to remind his client not to take “such a cavalier attitude with the law”.
He said: “This was opportunistic and unplanned, it was not a prolonged incident.
“He has expressed clear remorse and he says the time he has spent on remand at Pentonville prison has been nothing short of absolutely awful.
“It has been a profoundly distressing experience for him.”
But Judge William Kennedy dismissed the defence lawyer’s pleas as he sentenced the father-of-one - who pleaded guilty to one charge of robbery - to 16 months in prison, with an additional two months for breaching a conditional discharge, imposed in June last year for shoplifting children’s clothing from Mothercare.
Judge Kennedy also ordered that the £270 in cash should be forfeited.
He said: “This offence was pre-planned and in the hours of darkness and the courts must make clear this behaviour is not acceptable.
“You are now beginning to realise the enormity of what you have done but the simple fact is that for this sort of behaviour, only a custodial sentence is appropriate.
“The message is this - young men who rob others of their mobile phones go to prison.”