90 months' jail for third strike burglar who attempted to rob South Yorkshire pensioner

Sheffield Crown CourtSheffield Crown Court
Sheffield Crown Court
A ‘third strike burglar’ who attacked and attempted to rob a South Yorkshire pensioner while he was on the floor has been jailed for over eight years.

In the moments leading up to the attack on a 71-year-old man on May 4 this year, Ricky Bates smashed the bay window of a stranger, let himself into the home of a former neighbour and attempted to ‘hug and kiss’ her.

Richard Davies, prosecuting, told Sheffield Crown Court how when Bates’ neighbour refused his advances, he left the property.

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A short time later, Bates elderly attack victim observed him ‘sprawled out on a fence pole’ near to where he was walking.

“He [the victim] took the view that the defendant was drunk so took the view to walk around him. Bates said: ‘Don’t you want to chill’? He said: ‘No, I’m not going to chill with you’ and the next thing he recalls is being on the floor, being kicked by the defendant,” Mr Davies said.

“He can’t say how many times he was kicked, but said they were hard and fast.”

Bates, 34, then told the victim: ‘I want the money’ and put his hands in his left trouser pocket, which was empty.

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By chance, the same former neighbour Bates attempted to hug and kiss, happened to walk past at that moment, and her attention was immediately drawn to the attack when she heard the victim shouting for help.

Mr Davies said: “She shouted at him to get off and said: ‘What are you doing, he's an old man’. She ran over and placed herself in between the defendant and the victim, and managed to get him away from the defendant.”

The victim was left with a cut to his nose and bruising to his face.

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In a statement read to the court, the victim said the attack had left him feeling frightened and that he dreaded to think what would have happened if Bates’ former neighbour had not intervened.

Bates, of Sandymount Road, Wath-upon-Dearne was also brought before the court to be sentenced for a burglary committed in July last year, during which he stole a Vauxhall Corsa that he subsequently crashed into a stationary car, before running off.

He pleaded guilty to offences including attempted robbery, criminal damage and burglary at an earlier hearing.

Mr Davies said his most recent conviction for burglary made him a ‘third strike burglar’, meaning that the minimum sentence he can receive for this offence is three years - before the credit for his guilty plea is applied.

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James Baird, defending, said Bates has a ‘long-standing drug addiction,’ and began taking crack cocaine at the age of 30.

“He is extremely remorseful about the case of the attempted robbery. He cannot believe he behaved in the way he did,” Mr Baird said.

As he sent Bates to prison for 90 months, Judge David Dixon described his behaviour as ‘utterly disgusting’.

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He said: “You then went out and attacked a 71-year-old man. 71. He was simply walking home, and you decided to have a go at him.

“He tries to avoid you, and you engaged him. And when he says he’s not interested, you set about him. You kick him to the head on the floor repeatedly, hard and fast.

“You punch him, you put your hands in his pockets and search them. You were trying to rob him.”

“This was utterly disgusting behaviour.”

- South Yorkshire Police has been asked to provide a custody image of Bates