Norwich legend Darren Huckerby ‘devastated’ for victims after son is sentenced over robberies
- Credit: Archant
Norwich City legend Darren Huckerby has told how he and his family are “devastated” for the young victims of a spate of city centre robberies after his son was handed three years in a young offenders institution for his part in the crimes.
Norwich Crown Court heard Benjamin Huckerby, 18, Levi Licorish, 18, and Lucas Philpott, 19, had been near Vue Cinema and the Castle Gardens area moving around in a group to intimidate other young people.
Chris Youell, prosecuting, said there was “force in numbers” from the group, most of whom had their faces covered, as well as the threat of the use of a hammer.
One teen had a necklace taken and another had an Apple watch stolen in two robberies committed within minutes of each other, while a third youngster was the victim of an attempted robbery.
Huckerby, Licorish and Philpott were sentenced to a total of seven years on Wednesday, June 3 after they admitted their parts in the offences on January 12 this year.
Following the sentencing Huckerby, who played 203 times for the Canaries between 2003 and 2008, scoring 48 goals, issued a statement through solicitor Chris Brown, which said the family had been left “incredibly disappointed” by his son’s actions.
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The statement said: “We made our home in Norwich because we fell in love with the city, county and people when we arrived in 2003.
“I have always tried to pay back some of the welcome by trying to hold the highest standards on and off the pitch, helping the local community when I can and through things like the charitable trust we set up.
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“So as a family we are incredibly disappointed and hurt by Ben’s actions, which go against everything we stand for.
“Learning the choices he made has shocked us. He knows our feelings about the incidents and the damage caused. Our thoughts go out to those involved in this case, we are devastated that their lives were affected in this way.
“We haven’t been able to say this before now, to allow the legal process to come to an end.
“We accept the outcome of that legal process. Ben will now need to serve his sentence and take responsibility for his actions after which his family will support him to turn into the young man we hoped he would grow up to be.”
The court heard the group approached the first victim who was asked for his chain and told “things are going to get worse for you” if he did not do as they asked.
Another teen was approached near the bridge leading from the Castle Mall to the castle before they demanded he hand over an Apple watch.
But the police were called and officers soon caught up with the group, who had earlier demanded another teen hand over his bag.
They left after hearing sirens. Huckerby was caught “red handed” in possession of the Apple watch and necklace that had been taken, the court heard, and a yellow hammer was also found discarded close to the scene.
Huckerby, of, Keswick, and Licorish, of Music House Lane, Norwich, admitted two counts of robbery and one of attempted robbery. Huckerby also admitted possession of cannabis on the same date.
Philpott, whose address is held as Kinghorn Road, Norwich, admitted one count of robbery. In addition Huckerby was to be sentenced for a separate incident when he admitted possessing a knife and cannabis in Hassett Close, Norwich on his 18th birthday on December 1 last year.
Edward Adeyemi, 21, also appeared for sentence having admitted possession of blade on the same date. Sentencing the defendants for the robberies Judge Anthony Bate said they had acted as “bullies” where they used their “collective weight to intimidate others” into giving up what they had, adding it had been “cowardly and mean offending”.
Huckerby was sentenced to a total of three years in a young offenders institution (YOI), Licorish was sentenced to a total of two years and nine months, Philpott received a 15 month sentence in a young offenders institution (YOI). Adeyemi, of Thorpe Road, Norwicn was given an eight month sentence.
Will Carter, mitigating for Huckerby, said he accepted he was involved and was part of a joint enterprise, stating that “together they behaved in a way which they individually wouldn’t have done”.
He said Huckerby “knew the hammer was there” but added his client insisted he “did not use it” adding he was of previous good character but had “gone off the rails”.
Rob Pollington, for Licorish, said he had pleaded guilty adding the defendant, who had a “very difficult” upbringing, had allowed himself to be with others that had “led him down a path of offending not in keeping with his character”.
Matthew Sorel-Cameron, for Philpott, said he was remorseful for his part in the offence which he insisted would not have happened had they been on their own.
He said they “fuelled each other to commit these offences”.
Andrew Thompson, mitigating for Adeyemi, said he pleaded guilty at the first opportunity, was now 21 and had no previous convictions.