By Peter Walsh, Crime correspondent
Friday, February 8, 2013
A man who robbed a student after punching him in the back of the head was caught almost red-handed after police followed his footprints in the freshly-laid snow, a court has heard.
Margiris Jogela, 22, of no fixed abode, had only been in the country for two days before he robbed the intoxicated victim, a student at the University of East Anglia (UEA), in Pottergate in the early hours of January 18.
The victim was trying to unlock a bicycle when he was approached by two men, including Jogela who punched him in the back of the head before stealing his wallet, mobile phone and cash.
Jogela, who is from Lithuania, and the other man fled but were caught on CCTV and followed by officers who apprehended Jogela after following his footprints in the snow.
Jogela appeared at Norwich Crown Court yesterday where he was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison after pleading guilty to robbery.
Jailing Jogela Judge Peter Jacobs described it as a “serious offence” and a “frightening experience” for the victim, a student, who had “obviously had too much to drink” and could “ill afford” being robbed.
He said: “You were caught almost red handed because it was possible to follow footprints but unfortunately your companion got away.
“It’s a serious matter; you’ve used force of sufficient nature to put him to the floor. There was obviously some pre-planning, you targeted a vulnerable victim, you were involved with one other person and the offence was committed at night.”
Judge Jacobs, who gave Jogela credit for his plea, said the fact he had committed the offence after only being in the country for two days demonstrated that his presence in this country was “totally undesirable” although there was “nothing he could do about that”.
Chris Youell, prosecuting, showed the judge CCTV of the incident which he said happened at about 4.15am on January 18 during these “snows”.
He said: “It did prove useful for police in the end as they were able to follow some footprints.”
Mr Youell said after sneaking up behind the victim and “clouting him towards the back of the head” Jogela and the other man rifled through his pockets also taking his UEA student card.
He said the robbery was captured on CCTV and followed by the operator before two police officers arrived on scene and followed “some fresh footprints in the freshly laid snow at the scene” before apprehending Jogela.
Mr Youell said Jogela’s shoes were found to match the prints in the snow and he was arrested and interviewed.
Mr Youell said if they knew the identity of the other man involved he would have been in the dock with Jogela.
Ian James, mitigating, said he “could not shed any light on the offence at all”, the circumstances surrounding it or reasons for it.
He was told Jogela had arrived from Lithuania, where he has family, to work just two days before the offence and had been staying locally with friends who had been here longer than he had.
Mr James said: “He tells me that he doesn’t have any problem with drugs or alcohol or health problems.”
He added the victim had “suffered no injuries as a consequence of this at all” and said Jogela should receive full credit for his plea.
Speaking after the case, Detectives Inspector Richard Graveling, from Norwich CID, said: “This was a nasty incident and the use of CCTV and ironically the bad weather, played a key part in helping officers to detain the suspect and ultimately take a dangerous individual off the city’s streets.
“Robbery is a crime which can have a significant impact on victims and this is something we will not stand for.”