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It appears someone was sentenced for those crimes today. Reiss Hunter of Paradise Park, Lea Bridge Road, E5 was sentenced to 4 years imprisonment on each of four counts of robbery and a further 4 years for an attempted robbery. The sentences will run concurrently.
Back in December 2010, I reported about a series of muggings that took place in Millfields Park North after a few residents who cut through the park from Leabridge Road reported being attacked. Soon after, the incidents were down played by both the police and Councillor Iian Rathbone.
The report on Hackney Hive led David White, secretary of Millfield Park Users Group to contact his local Safer Neighbourhood team. Sgt Mark Wrathall sent him this response:
“We haven’t issued any warnings regarding the park. We also have not distributed any leaflets in relation to robbery offences in any specific area. The only other crime prevention leaflets distributed at this time are those such as home safety guides, Immobilise cards etc. which are available at our advertised police surgeries where members of the team are available to local residents and other community members. Advice and leaflets available would include advice around personal property etc. and includes basic crime prevention advice.”
After receiving that bit of reassurance, Cllr Rathbone sent an email to the Millfields User Group saying: .“I did wonder if it was just a hearsay episode as the police usually alert councillors to such problems. I think it is important that this correction goes out as the previous statement tends to blight the area and panic people unnecessarily”
Oddly enough while the Hackney Gazette reported about Reiss Hunter’s sentencing yesterday, mentioning where the crimes were committed, the official press release from Scotland Yard ommitted to mention the muggings took place in Millfields Park. Instead it stated: “The offences took place between August 2010 and January 2011 and the circumstances in which they took place were strikingly similar in many cases. All the offences occurred within a small geographical area of Hackney and were linked by officers noticing a clear pattern to the crimes. In a number of cases, the victims, most of who were male, were followed and robbed after alighting from a bus. In many cases the victims were threatened with extreme violence, including being stabbed or shot.”
I wouldn’t go as far as to say Cllr Ian Rathbone (Labour), was trying to protect his pet project and his Clapton gentrification buddies, but who knows. After all, nearby muggings and such isn’t good news, when you are head cheerleader of a project and long term plan that will see the whole neighbourhood change for the better for some and the margilization of others who will be out priced.
Any way, I digress. It’s possible that the Gazette obtained their information from their usual court reporting press agency, which would explain why they reported the crimes took place in Millfields, still I find it odd that the press release was not more specific about the location of the muggings. I realise Hackney is a small area, but it helps to speak plain instead of doing the two step, when giving information about a crime that endagers members of a community.
Hunter was identified as a possible suspect by officers from Hackney’s robbery squad, using fingerprint and CCTV evidence. The investigation linked a total of 18 offences and on 11 March, Hunter was charged with six offences of robbery and one of attempted robbery, along with conspiracy to rob (covering the remaining 11 offences).
On 7 July He plead guilty to four counts of robbery and attempted robbery. He pleaded not guilty to two counts of robbery. At that hearing the CPS discontinued the conspiracy to rob charge.
DI Glenn Butler, from Hackney’s Robbery unit, said: “This brings to a conclusion a very successful investigation by Hackney officers.
“The investigation team, DC Darren Reason, DC Simon Walsh and DC Paul Howell, were able to put together a very strong case against Hunter, which resulted in his guilty pleas.
“Hunter has today been sentenced and I hope this will be a timely reminder to all those involved in robbery that we will do everything in our power to bring them to justice and they will potentially face a lengthy time in prison.”