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Brave UEA students fought back against cycling street robber

PUBLISHED: 14:58 31 October 2019 | UPDATED: 14:58 31 October 2019

Simon Garratt. PIC: Norfolk Constabulary.

Simon Garratt. PIC: Norfolk Constabulary.

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Two university students bravely fought back after they were targeted by a street robber within minutes of each other, a court has heard.

Simon Garratt, 35, was on his bike and had been looking to rob whoever he came across when he attempted to grab the bag of a 28-year-old student as she walked along University Drive at the University of East Anglia (UEA).

But the student refused to give up her bag and struggled with Garratt, who "pulled so hard she lost her balance" and fell to the floor.

Martin Ivory, prosecuting at Norwich Crown Court, said that in the struggle the victim was caught in the face and suffered scuffs, cuts and bruises but was able to keep hold of her bag until a passer-by intervened and the defendant left on his bike.

Just 15 minutes later Garratt found a second victim walking along Wycliffe Road in Norwich.

The 19-year-old student, who was on her way to the UEA, had been sending a text on her phone when Garratt "snatched the phone out of her hand" and made off on his bike.

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But after working out what had happened the student "pursued" Garratt and, after wrestling with the defendant, "snatched her phone back out of his hand".

But Garratt then snatched her purse out of her other hand, took out her bank card and fled.

Although there was no victim personal statements from the students, who were both international students, they were both clearly affected by their ordeal, the court heard.

Garratt, formerly of Wycliffe Road, Norwich, previously admitted attempted robbery, robbery and theft on August 28 this year at an earlier hearing.

Sentencing Garratt to a total of three years and four months in prison, Judge Stephen Holt said the defendant had put himself near the UEA, which he described as one of the "jewels in this county", being highly regarded throughout the world and attracting students from all over the world.

He said students, who would be making their way to university from their homes, were "very vulnerable" because of the expensive equipment, like laptops and phones, they would be carrying.

Judge Holt said Garratt had "set out that morning to rob whoever you came across".

David Stewart, mitigating, said only minor injuries were caused to the first victim in the "unsophisticated" and "somewhat inept" offences which he said stemmed from drug addiction.

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