Women Jailed For Bedford Attack

Two women, one of them pregnant, have been jailed for attacking and robbing a woman in Bedford.

A Judge rejected pleas to suspend the sentences because of the level of violence that had been used.

Annie Lawman, and Raquel Dowling both aged 23 pleaded guilty to robbing the 20 year old victim in Bedford on July 15 last year.

Lawman, of Royes Court, who is a carer for her sick mother, and Dowling, of Denmark Street, who is pregnant were each jailed for three years and three months.

John Upton, prosecuting at Luton Crown Court on Friday said the victim, who has a mental age of a 16 year old, was staying at a YMCA hostel in Bedford where she was being helped to prepare to live on her own.

"The two defendants were outside the hostel, drinking and shouting and screaming at people walking by.

"Eventually they got into a car and the victim decided to go for a walk to clear her head as she had had an argument with her boyfriend,"

The proscutor said she was listening to loud music on head phones attached to her phone, and did not hear the pair approach her.

"She was yanked to the ground by her hair and Dowling put her hands round her throat and squeezed so she struggled to breath.

"Then Lawman started kicking her while she was on the ground to her body, stomach and face," said Mr. Upton.

The young woman curled herself into a ball to protect herself, and her phone was taken from her.

Later Lawman complained to her friend that her leg hurt, adding: 'I ended up kicking the bitch in the face', the court was told.

The pair were arrested and while Dowling made some admissions, Lawman was 'obstreperous' and denied the offence. She only pleaded guilty on the day she was due to stand trial.

Paul Orton for Dowling said: "This was unplanned but she does not remember it because of the alcohol she had taken. But she accepts she was stupid and did something wrong."

He said she had no previous convictions and was six months pregnant.

Derek Johashen for Lawman said she was also very drunk and was seeking help to control her drinking.

"There is a very different side to her though. Her mother is very ill and she attends to all her needs daily, which is a huge undertaking and is of huge comfort to her mother. That line of support will be lost if she goes into custody."

Judge David Farrell QC said: "Fortunately the victim did not suffer serious or long term physical injuries but that is only by good fortune.  The force used was over and above what was needed to steal the mobile phone.

"The offence is so serious that only immediate custody is appropriate," he said.

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