TWO young men who robbed a schoolboy of a designer gilet at knifepoint have escaped being jailed after a judge heard how they have turned their lives round since the incident.
Kieran Garricks-Ferguson and magistrate’s son Mahtarr Njie-Morgan admitted robbing the youngster during an incident in a Henley-in-Arden park in the summer of 2017. They also pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to a second charge of possessing a bladed article.
And following an adjournment for reports to be prepared on them, 19-year-old Garricks-Ferguson of Stockley Crescent, Solihull, and 18-year-old Njie-Morgan of Lyall Grove, Acocks Green, Birmingham, were given 22-month sentences suspended for 18 months.
Judge Peter Cooke also ordered them to do 150 hours of unpaid work each and to take part in a rehabilitation activity.
Prosecutor Lee Egan said in August 2017 a 14-year-old boy and a friend had been in Jubilee Park in H and as they were leaving he was approached from behind.
Garricks-Ferguson grabbed him in a headlock and threw him to the ground, causing him to hit his head, then picked him up and demanded the designer gilet he was wearing, which had cost £420.
As he made his demand, Njie-Morgan backed him.
When the boy handed over the top, they turned their attention to his friend and demanded his gilet as well, but he refused to take it off.
Njie-Morgan then pulled out a Stanley knife which he passed to Garricks-Ferguson who brandished it before handing it back.
Despite that, the second boy still refused to give them his gilet, and when two dogs ran over, the defendants, fearing their owners would be close behind, made off.
They were captured by a CCTV camera as they left the park, with Njie-Morgan wearing the gilet they had taken, and after being identified they were arrested in November.
The gilet was found at Njie-Morgan’s home, and Garricks-Ferguson admitted being involved in the robbery, although he said he was not aware of the knife.
Mr Egan added that Njie-Morgan had a previous conviction for attempted robbery, possessing a bladed article on school premises and an offensive weapon, a baton, at Solihull College, but Garricks-Ferguson was of previous good character.
Adam Western, for Njie-Morgan, said since the offence he had been offered a place and a grant to start a business management course.
“His father is a lay magistrate in Birmingham. He has described how his son has put him and his mother through hell, but he was anxious for me to know how he believes his son has turned his life around and is a different young man.”
Graham Henson, for Garricks-Ferguson, said he had obtained a B Tech at Leamington College and was now on a BA course in graphic design in Worthing.
“He has been doing voluntary work with a charity which helps troubled children, and he is fervent in his hope to go back to college to carry on with his course.”
After remanding them in custody over lunch, Judge Peter Cooke told them: “The two of you subjected a lad of only 14 to the most horrible ordeal because you had your eye on his gilet.
“It was an expensive item, but that is not the point. The significance of the offence is what you put him through in your determination to steal it. It was a truly horrible offence.
“Your case presents me with a real dilemma.
“But we have the quite striking personal mitigation for the two of you of two years not only not re-offending, but reshaping your lives into young men your parents can be proud of.
“The public interest at this juncture would not be served by taking two young students and turning them into two young prisoners for what they did at the age of 16.”