Teen robber who turned prosecution witness goes free

Judge Peter Kelson QC
Judge Peter Kelson QC
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A ROBBER who helped convict three violent thugs who throttled a takeaway driver until he passed out was shown mercy by a judge after she gave evidence for the prosecution.

Nicola Banks, aged 18, walked free from court with a one year jail sentence suspended for 12 months after the judge heard she “turned Queen’s evidence” and gave evidence to support the prosecution case - despite her fears.

Ian Goldsack, prosecuting, said Banks was giving a party at her home in Doncaster when she made a phone call to an alcohol delivery firm, placed an order for £50 worth of booze and gave a fake address.

When delivery driver Lee Johnson turned up three men from the party intercepted him, stole the crate of Stella and two bottles of vodka then threatened him at knifepoint, strangled him until he passed out and robbed his wallet.

Banks was charged with robbery along with Liam Mitchell, 19, of Southwell Road, Wheatley, Craig Moore, 19, of Tudor Road, Intake and Liam Wood, 20, of Lower Pastures, Blaxton.

But when she heard they were applying to have the case against them thrown out, she admitted her part and gave evidence in support of the prosecution.

Andrew Smith, defending, said she had shown great strength of character and given evidence against the men despite being in fear and suffering threats.

Sentencing her, Judge Peter Kelson QC said: “People who have the courage to plead guilty and even more, have the courage to help the police with their investigations will receive the mercy of the courts.

“I am giving you mercy because you’ve earned it.

“Any other avenue and you would have been going down for a very long time.”

He added: “The gulf between you and the male offenders could not be more vast.”

Mitchell, Moore and Wood pleaded guilty to robbery and were each jailed for 10 years.

Banks was also ordered to carry out 100 hours’ unpaid work for the community.