Two attackers who carried out a violent, transphobic robbery on a man in Aylesbury have today (18 April) been jailed.
On 25 July 2016, the victim was approached by a group of males, who verbally abused him for being transgender, assaulted him and stole his wallet and mobile phone.
The victim sustained serious injuries in the attack including a fractured skull, a brain aneurysm and a puncture wound to his left cheek.
The CPS prosecuted the case as a transphobic hate crime from the outset. When the victim was unable to give evidence due to the physical and psychological effects of the assault, prosecutors successfully applied to have his police statement read out in court. Upon conviction, the judge determined that the case should be sentenced as a hate crime and an uplift of six months was today applied in relation to the ringleader of the attack.
Kaviraj Choolun from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said:
“Tackling hate crime is a priority for the CPS and offenders can expect to have their sentences increased.
“I hope this successful prosecution, and today’s sentences, will encourage victims to come forward. We work closely with our partners, as we did with Thames Valley police in this case, to ensure that criminals motivated by hate feel the full force of the law.
“We hope that the victim, who has shown great courage throughout this process, continues with his recovery. Our thoughts are with him at this time.”
Owen Wise, who was aged just 16 at the time of the incident, can be named after the judge decided to lift reporting restrictions. He acted as the ringleader and pleaded guilty to robbery and possession of a bladed article, but denied targeting the victim due to vulnerability and claimed to have only hit him once. Today the 17-year-old was sentenced at Aylesbury Crown Court to five years and 10 months in jail.
This sentence included a six-month uplift for the hate-fuelled nature of the offences. The judge praised CPS advocate Nigel Ogborne for his assistance in ensuring that Wise’s sentence was extended.
Michael Thorpe, 21, did not use any violence during the incident, but was part of the group when the robbery took place. He admitted to stealing the victim’s mobile phone during the robbery and pleaded guilty to theft.
He was sentenced to two years and three months imprisonment. Both defendants are from Aylesbury.
Note to Editors:
Kaviraj Choolun is a Senior Crown Prosecutor on the Thames Valley Crown Court Team at Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service.