On Tuesday, 18 September, at Southwark Crown Court, Amine Benchoula, 35 (12.11.87), of no fixed address, was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment for the robbery and assault on the baby.
Detective Sergeant Daniel Northcott, who led the investigation, said: “This was a terrible robbery that would have had a detrimental impact on the victim and his family. The fact that Benchoula has shown no regard to the welfare of the victim’s baby while committing such a heinous act was of deep concern to me and my team, and we worked hard to ensure the hunt for the suspect was intensified.
“Through the hard work and dedication of the officers on my team, we were able to apprehend the suspect and charge him promptly. With the wealth of evidence against him, he had no choice but to plead guilty at court.”
At around 16:40hrs on Saturday, 24 June, the victim was walking on St James’s Square, SW1 with his brother, his wife and their baby on the way back to their vehicle.
As the victim got ready to put his baby into the vehicle, Benchoula ran up behind him, took hold of his wrist and began pulling the £80,000 Patek Philippe watch from the victim’s wrist.
In the process, Benchoula knocked the baby out of the pram and onto the pavement before running away from the scene with the stolen watch, heading in the direction of Waterloo Place/Pall Mall.
The robbery victim and the baby both sustained minor injuries as a result of incident. The baby was taken to hospital as a precaution but fortunately, the father and the baby did not suffer any serious injuries.
The incident was caught on CCTV and an image of Benchoula was then circulated – this led to him being spotted by officers from the Violence Suppression Unit on Friday, 9 July on Edgware Road where he was then arrested.
Benchoula was arrested on suspicion of robbery and on recall to prison, and was notably wearing the same distinctive tracksuit trousers, trainers and baseball cap that he wore when he carried out the robbery.
Unfortunately, the stolen watch has not been recovered.
Detective Chief Inspector Scott, from the Central West BCU, said: “The Met is putting more officers into local policing and focusing on issues that matter to Londoners. Robbery is a priority for our communities across Central West BCU and we are taking proactive steps to identify harmful offenders and work with partners to prevent these offences from taking place.
“Across London officers are out day in, day out, conducting targeted patrols in robbery hotspots to identify, apprehend and deter potential offenders. We also have dedicated teams out on intelligence-led operations to target repeat offenders.”
+ Anyone who is a victim of a robbery or who has seen a robbery take place should call 999 immediately. We would also encourage people to:
– Stay aware of your surroundings and pay attention to who is around you.
– Keep valuables such as mobile phones, watches and cash out of sight.
– Plan your route home.
– More advice can be found on our website