A JUDGE reduced the possible sentence he could have imposed on a Sheffield mugger – after hearing he had witnessed his parents being executed in Iraq.
Shukur Ali, aged 19, fled the country after his parents died, but Sheffield Crown Court was told he had suffered with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder ever since.
The defendant, a student at Hillsborough College, appeared at court on Monday for attacking and robbing two students in the city in an hour.
Neil Coxon, prosecuting, said Ali started talking to 21-year-old clerk Oksana Ilcenko on Division Street in the city centre on Wednesday, April 18.
He asked her for directions before walking away but returned and grabbed her right wrist and during a tussle forced her to lose the grip on her handbag.
Ali fled and within an hour had singled out a second victim.
Matthew Sutton, 19, was walking home along Ecclesall Road when Ali pushed him to the ground in a bid to steal his iPhone then grabbed him around the throat and ripped off a nine-carat gold chain which had been a gift from his late mother.
The court heard Ali was an ‘exemplary student’ who had little recollection of the first incident but acknowledged the muggings must have been frightening.
Judge Graham Robinson said: “This was a frightening experience on the streets at night. You of all people must appreciate the sentimental value of items given to children by their mothers.”
He reduced Ali’s sentence by three months from a starting point of two years.
The judge added: “There were traumatic events in your early life and letters I have received from your tutors say this is very much out of character.”
Ali, of Washington Road, Sharrow, Sheffield. was locked up for 14 months.