The victim of a knife point robbery in Bedford Town a Centre has forgiven the gang that robbed him late at night and stole his wallet and bank cards, a court has been told
The man who was surrounded by three young men and who had a knife held to his neck, said in a statement that he didn’t want them to be locked up, but to understand what they had done was wrong so that it wouldn’t happen again.
His remarkable act of forgiveness was referred to in court yesterday (Monday) when two of the gang, James Bondon 22 and a teenager who was just 16 at the time appeared for sentence.
The pair were in Luton crown court to be sentenced for robbery in the early hours of 16 January 2019.
Bondon had earlier admitted the offence earlier, but his younger co-defendant who was 16 at the time, had been found guilty of the robbery earlier this year at the end of a trial
Bondon of Clarendon Street, Bedford admitted threatening another with a bladed article, breach of a criminal behaviour order and breaching his bail conditions.
The younger teen also from Bedford appeared for sentence for possessing an offensive weapon in form of a hammer which was found tucked in his waistband shortly after the robbery.
Recorder Johnson hearing the case was told how in the early hours of 16 January 2019 the victim was making his way home through Bedford.
It was in Midland Road that he was deliberately targeted by the gang when one of them approached him and asked for a cigarette.
CCTV captured the moment and showed him as he then signalled to Bondon and the 16 year old..
Prosecutor Daniel Siong said the victim made a run for it along Midland Road only to be chased by the three who caught up and pushed him against the shutter of a shop.
Mr Siong said Bondon held a knife to his neck as he went through the man’s pockets, as did the two others.
The court heard they made off with the victim’s wallet and bank cards, but the incident had been observed by a cctv operator who was able to track the three and direct police to their location.
Recorder Johnson was told how months earlier Bondon had been made the subject of a Criminal Behaviour Order with one of the conditions being that he shouldn’t cause a nuisance to anyone in the borough of Bedford.
Mr Siong said after being charged with the robbery Bondon had failed to attend a first court hearing and breached his bail conditions.
The third member of the gang – the one who had first approached the victim to ask for a cigarette – was not in court having been sentenced earlier to four years in custody.
A statement made by the victim of the robbery was referred to in court and Recorder Johnson said: “The victim says he felt guilty that those who robbed him now face going to prison and he doesn’t want them to be punished that way, but to realise what they did was wrong so that they don’t do it again.”
He said the victim now expresses forgiveness towards the people who robbed him that night.
The court was told both young men had had difficult upbringings.
The Recorder told the younger defendant “It’s clear your childhood was one no child deserves to experience.”
He sentenced Bondon to 4 years and 10 months in prison.
Recorder Johnson told the second teenager he was 16 when he had committed the offences and had had to wait two-and-a-half-years to be finally sentenced.
He said because of the “unusual circumstances” of his case and because of age at the time, the right course was to pass a three year community order which he said was “an exceptional course.”
He will be the subject of a six month electronically monitored home curfew between the hours of 8pm and 6am and he must carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.
He will also have to complete a 60 day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement working with probation staff.