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Judge releases mobile thief
8:00pm Monday 7th October 2013 in News
A PROLIFIC thief who grabbed a woman’s mobile phone in a coffeeshop has been given a prison sentence, but was then released.
Craig Ralphs, of North Way, Headington, committed the crime at about 7.15pm in Costa Coffee, in Queen Street, Oxford, on July 28 last year. Michael Roques, prosecuting, said the 37-year-old snatched a mobile phone belonging to Lucy Fortnam-Paynter from a table.
He said Ralphs ran for the exit but Ms Fortnam-Paynter jumped to her feet and chased after him. She grabbed the thief and Mr Roques said he told her: “Let go and I’ll give you the phone back.”
The barrister told Judge Gordon Risius that Fortnam-Paynter reached into Ralphs’ pocket and retrieved her phone. At that point he ran out of the shop and into the crowd outside, but was arrested after police looked at CCTV footage.
He said Ralphs had a total of 56 convictions for 159 offences, including 91 for theft.
But he also told the judge that the defendant had already been in prison for 12 months, because of theft and sexual assault charges, which had now been dropped.
Judge Gordon Risius sentenced Ralphs to eight weeks in prison and told him to pay an £80 victims’ surcharge. But he said: “Taking into account your appalling criminal record, your plea of guilty, and most importantly the fact that you have been in custody on other matters that are not now being continued with, the appropriate sentence is one which will allow you to be released immediately.”