‘Your money or your life’ – Sussex teenager and two others carried out terrifying knifepoint robbery at ATM
A teenage boy and two men marched a stranger to an ATM at knifepoint in a terrifying robbery, a court has heard.
The man had been walking near Palmeira Square in Hove on his way to work when the three robbers encircled him.
The traumatised victim was told ‘we need your money or it’s your life’ and ‘you’re dead’ during the attack at 5.45am on December 19, 2018.
When they realised he did not have any money in his wallet, the ‘feral youths’ marched the poor man to an ATM.
The boy was just 14 years old at the time but had already developed a drug addiction. He cannot be named for legal reasons.
The other two men involved in the disgraceful mugging were Ethan Skeeles, 19, of Portland Road in Hove and Ibrahim Aloqaybi, 20, of Shirley Road in Hove.
All three appeared at Lewes Crown Court yesterday afternoon for sentencing after pleading guilty to robbery.
Saudi Arabian Aloqaybi had been studying English in Brighton on a student visa, but is expected to be deported after serving his sentence, the court heard.
After the victim had handed over £200 to the youths they made off towards St. Ann’s Well Gardens. The police were called and the three were swiftly arrested.
The court heard that the boy send text messages following the incident ‘to look like the big man, to show off’.
In an emotional statement read out in court, the traumatised victim said he is worried he will never sleep properly again.
He said: “During the first weeks after the incident I was feeling nervous and I didn’t go outside.
“I was suffering from insomnia. I was not eating at all.”
Several weeks on from the attack, the victim said he is still ‘uncomfortable and suspicious of everyone around’.
The court heard his heart-breaking admission that the incident has affected his relationship with his daughter.
Ben Squirrel, defending Aloqaybi, said that after a promising start in the UK the Saudi national had fallen in with a bad crowd.
He said: “It seems a tragic story of someone who seems to have been fairly naïve who came to this country with good intentions to study English.
“It is clear that his family are utterly devastated. He’s clearly someone who has jeopardized his future in Saudi Arabia.
Andrew Bishop, defending Skeeles, said his client was ‘still a young man’ when the robbery took place and that he has shown remorse.
He said: “There was nothing premeditated – they had not planned to do a robbery – and he planned to go home.
“He went along with it. He was a reluctant participant, but a participant no less.”
Hollie Collinge, defending the 14-year-old boy, said her client is a ‘bright young man’ who accepts his guilt.
She said: “He accepts making threats, he accepts having a weapon.
“He accepts additionally that this was a very, very frightening experience and ordeal'' (for the victim).
She told the court that a downturn in his life had caused him to become addicted to anti-anxiety drug Xanax.
Judge Christine Laing QC, sentencing the trio, said: “You are all of previous good character and are all intelligent young men from good backgrounds.''
The three had targeted the victim and 'circled him so that he had no chance to escape and, the most upsetting feature of all, you produced two knives'.
“It must have been an utterly terrifying incident for him.
“It would have been bad enough being robbed by a group of three feral youths but the production of knives take this to a whole new level.”
Ibrahim Aloqaybi was jailed for two years and eight months.
Ethan Skeeles was jailed for two years and two months.
Turning to the boy, Judge Laing said: “Make no mistake you deserve to be going the same way as your two co-defendants in my judgement.”
However she said her hands were ‘tied by Parliament’ and instead was compelled to impose a youth rehabilitation order for a period of two years.