A 38-year-old woman has been jailed for four years after she mugged a call centre worker on her way home through Halifax town centre.
Jane Barton’s victim had finished her shift in Manchester and had just arrived back at Halifax railway station in the early hours of July 30 last year when she was confronted in the Alexandra Street area.
Prosecutor Andrew Stranex described how the complainant had been wearing headphones and speaking to her boyfriend on her mobile phone when Barton, who was wearing a hoodie, pushed her up against wall.
The complainant described seeing what she thought was a knife being produced by her attacker and she fell to the ground during the struggle between the two of them.
Barton took the opportunity to run off with the victim’s handbag, but Bradford Crown Court heard that the complainant followed her attacker and was able to contact the police on her phone.
Mr Stranex said as Barton was being followed from a safe distance into the Westgate Arcade she turned round and threatened to stab the complainant if she did not stop.
The complainant decided not to pursue her any further but she was able to alert officers who were in the area and they detained Barton nearby.
The officers retraced Barton’s route and were able to recover the handbag and its contents along with a knife.
Barton, of Range Court, Boothtown, Halifax, made some admissions during her police interviews, but she did not plead guilty to the robbery charge until her trial was listed at the crown court last month.
The Recorder of Bradford Judge Roger Thomas QC was told that Barton, who had been addicted to drugs in the past, had previous convictions for various offences dating back more than 20 years.
Her barrister Kate Bissett said Barton had managed to stay out of trouble for two years and come off drugs with the help of her partner and other agencies.
She said Barton was apologetic and remorseful for the offence and indicated that Barton believed that her drink had been “spiked” while she was at a party.
But Judge Thomas said there appeared to have been some pre-planning involved because Barton had her hood up to disguise herself and she was also in possession of the knife.
The judge said Barton’s victim was an entirely innocent young woman who was doing nothing more than finish her late shift at the call centre and walk home.
“You saw this lone woman, perhaps you were even looking for such a victim, and you confronted her,” the judge told Barton.
“She was terrified.”
The judge said he was mystified as to why Barton had not pleaded guilty at an earlier stage and that meant there was very little discount for her plea.