WHEN a thief tried to snatch her bag as she walked along a Stratford canal towpath, a quick-thinking teenager managed to keep hold of it – and to take a picture of her assailant.
As a result, the police identified the robber as Adam Coyne, who a judge at Warwick Crown Court heard was subject to a suspended sentence for theft at the time.
The 22-year-old, of Clopton Road, Stratford, pleaded guilty to the attempted robbery of the 17-year-old, as well as charges of theft, assault by beating and possessing a bladed article.
But after reading psychiatric reports on him Judge Sylvia de Bertodano made him subject to hospital order under the Mental Health Act.
As a result Coyne, who has been diagnosed as suffering from paranoid psychosis, will be detained in a psychiatric unit until it is decided he no longer requires treatment.
Prosecutor Andrew Wilkins said earlier this year Coyne broke into an office at the Cyrenians premises in Clopton Road by smashing a window, and stole a cash box containing £87.
Following his arrest for that matter, he pleaded guilty and was granted bail.
Then on June 19 he went into the Tesco store in Stratford and helped himself to food and alcohol worth £163 before leaving without paying for it.
He was followed by store employee Jacob Longuissa as he made off on a bike, but rode into a bush and fell off.
As Mr Longuissa approached him, Coyne threatened to stab him, and there was a struggle between them before he managed to break free and run off.
That afternoon a 17-year-old girl was walking along the canal towpath near McDonalds in Stratford when Coyne tried to snatch her bag.
The teenager managed to hold on to it – and to take a picture of Coyne on her phone, which led to him being identified by the police.
Later the same day Coyne went into the Marks & Spencer store in Stratford town centre, and in just 25 seconds stole meat worth £263.
Some of it was recovered when he was arrested shortly afterwards, and he also had a cut-throat razor on him, which Mr Wilkins pointed out he had not produced during the confrontation outside the Tesco store.
Mr Wilkins added Coyne had previous convictions for 20 offences, and at the time was subject to a suspended prison sentence imposed last year for theft.
Curtis Myrie, defending, said there were reports by two psychiatrists who had found that Coyne suffered from paranoid psychosis and had recommended a hospital order.