Six Years Each For Manslaughter

Two boys who killed a partially sighted pensioner while mugging her for her handbag were ordered to be detained for six years today.

The judge lifted an anonymity order on Jiervon Bartlett and Nayed Hoque, both 15, because of the seriousness of the case. They pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Paula Castle, 85, who died of head injuries the day after being pushed to the ground near her home in Greenford, west London, in November, last year.

The pair had followed her down an alleyway as they covered their heads with their hoodies. They took her bag and left her bleeding and crying out in pain on the ground.

The pair ran back to the nearby care home where they were in secure accommodation after committing a series of violent offences.

The Old Bailey heard they used Mrs Castle's bank card to top up a mobile phone and order a takeaway meal.

The following day, despite knowing the frail pensioner had been seriously injured, they robbed 75-year-old Rose Mohamed of her bag and money.

Bartlett, of Northolt, west London, and Hoque, of Mile End, east London, were told they would have extended licence periods of four years after serving half their sentences.

Mr Justice Fulford told the youths they had chosen the women because they were vulnerable.

Widow Mrs Castle was a "remarkable and courageous" woman who managed to live an independent life despite a number of difficulties. He added:

 "She showed real bravery in dealing with life which is in stark contrast to the cowardly behaviour you have exhibited time and time again.  These were cruel offences. I am sure you are both dangerous and pose a very high risk to the public of serious harm."

Mrs Mohamed was robbed of her bag with £120 which was later used for mobile top-ups and by Bartlett to buy trainers.  She was now unable to go out at night and her confidence had been shattered.

The court was told both boys had been involved in previous robberies.  Bartlett in January, last year, had grabbed a woman's hair, pushed her against a wall and run off with her mobile phone.  The previous year, he and others had robbed and assaulted two boys after threatening to stab them.

Hoque had beaten up his parents on two occasions and committed two robberies - the last one was four days before he attacked Mrs Castle.

Jane Castle, the daughter-in-law of Paula, said the teenagers' sentences were "incredibly short".  She told the press outside court:

"I'm glad it's come to an end in some ways, but I don't think it's a long enough sentence.  I think a longer one is subject to appeal, so I think it's so difficult unless the laws change radically. Because they're juveniles, the law is based on that."

She said despite being in their teens, the killers had committed a "heinous" and "adult" crime.  "Six years seems an incredibly short time for what they've done," she said.

"They've repeatedly committed crimes, some of a violent nature, and they've targeted the vulnerable, the elderly, the disabled, and they didn't seem to have much remorse because they went out an mugged another lady the next day, and they knew my mother-in-law was in hospital and had been critically injured.  The punishment doesn't coincide with the crime, really."

Ms Castle said her mother-in-law was an independent, caring and quiet woman.

"She doted on her grandchildren," she said.  "She was very caring and very quiet. My son said after she died, she never actually raised her voice.  She was just lovely really. Quiet, independent and a great mother to her late son and a great granny.  Her grandchildren are very shocked and upset, obviously. They can't understand.  Two of them are the same age as those who committed the crime, so that's a real shock in itself."