Richard’s ambush gang get 29 years

Richard Lister, above, and below, Sophie Arnold, who drove the gang, Grant, Thompson, Lad and Adam
Richard Lister, above, and below, Sophie Arnold, who drove the gang, Grant, Thompson, Lad and Adam

Five young robbers are behind bars today for a vicious attack that left an A-level student fighting for his life.

Richard Lister, from Skircoat, Halifax, was in a coma for nine days after he was set upon while walking home from celebrating his exam results on August 18.

Court snatch at CMBC of group accused of robbery and attack on student at Skircoat Green Road

Court snatch at CMBC of group accused of robbery and attack on student at Skircoat Green Road

The brave teenager, who is still recovering from his ordeal, was in court to see his attackers jailed for a total of 29 years.

Stefan Grant, 21, Duron Thompson, 20, Viren Lad, 18, Hassan Adam, 18, and their getaway driver Sophie Arnold, 19, all from Bradford, admitted robbery.

The court heard ex-Queensbury High School pupil Arnold, who was Adam’s girlfriend, drove the men to Halifax where they cruised the streets for victims.

They found their first, Michael Cook, in Moor Bottom Road, Illingworth at around 9.30pm.

Grant (Richard Lister case)

Grant (Richard Lister case)

He described the men getting out of the car and surrounding him before pushing him into a garden wall.

He also said he had been threatened with a knife but the defendants, who took his phone, passport and cash, denied using a weapon.

Just 40 minutes later they drove to Skircoat Green Road, Halifax, where they brutally attacked Mr Lister, snatched his £200 iPhone and fled.

They sold it less than an hour later and each took a £40 cut of the profits.

Duron Thompson

Duron Thompson

Meanwhile, a seriously injured Mr Lister had managed to stagger to the nearby home of a GP, who sent for help.

Nikki Peers, prosecuting, told the court: “Mr Lister was still at the stage of being conscious and was able to give brief details of what happened to him.

“Whilst listening to music on his iPhone he had been surrounded by four males who had punched him, causing him to fall to the floor.

“He described them continuing to kick him and standing on his head and chest.

Viren Lad

Viren Lad

“He also described one of them stamping on his head.”

The four men all deny stamping on his head, but admitted joint responsibility for his injuries.

Miss Peers said: “As a result of the violence inflicted on him, he suffered life-threatening injuries which saw him in a coma.”

After he woke up, Mr Lister spent three months in a neurological rehabilitation unit.

The court heard he was forgetful and confused, had difficulty speaking and suffered from weakness in the right side of his body.

He is still being treated as an outpatient.

Hassan Adam

Hassan Adam

Reading Mr Lister’s victim impact statement to the court, Miss Peers said: “He said he would like his health and lifestyle to return to normal so he can be an 18-year-old again.”

Grant, who was out on licence from a 12-month prison sentence for burglary at the time, was jailed for eight years.

Thompson was jailed for seven years. Lad and Adam who were 17 at the time, were locked up for six years.

A sobbing Arnold was sentenced to two and a half years behind bars.

Judge said: “You robbed him of an expensive iPhone but you nearly robbed him of his life. You robbed him of so much.”

The courtroom was packed with Mr Lister’s family and friends, including his mum Debbie Critchell and dad Ian Lister.

Speaking after the hearing, Mrs Critchell, 51, said her son was pleased with the sentences.

“It has obviously been very emotional for him going through the details, but he’s very relieved with the outcome,” she said.

“I think it’s given him some closure because all he’s wanted over the last six months is to face them.”

Det Insp Gary Stephenson said: “The attack was completely senseless and could have resulted in Richard’s death.

“Richard, his family and their friends have dealt with this with the utmost dignity and hopefully will see today as a milestone in his recovery.”