Three men, one of whom was working as a "taxi driver" according to his QC Ali Naseem Bajwa, have been jailed for the brutal robbery of a woman in Swansea.
The court heard how the three men hired a car from their home city of Birmingham and drove it all the way to Swansea to target their victim who had £23,000 in her handbag.
The unnamed victim, a woman in her 40's, was repeatedly punched in the face as the trio stole her bag and made off in a waiting Mercedes.
The three attackers were tracked down when a witness to the robbery managed to make a note of the getaway vehicle's registration and passed it on to the police.
Police caught up with the three attackers as they headed back to Birmingham and took them into custody.
Prosecuting, Paul Hobson told the court that on the afternoon of 24 July Cameron Hussain, Usmaan Ali, and Hassan Aftab drove from Birmingham to Swansea in a hired Mercedes car. Garage receipts showed them buying fuel in the West Midlands at 3pm and then arriving in Swansea by 6.30pm. Mr Hobson explained to the court that the woman had withdrawn £23,600 from various banks that day and was making her way to her property in the city's SA1 development when she was targeted.
It is still not known who organised the robbery and how the men knew she would have the funds on her at that particular time.
When the victim got to Langdon Road she was approached by Hussain and Aftab who repeatedly punched her in the face, and snatched her bags.
They then made their getaway in a Mercedes which was being driven by Ali. Once alerted of the attack, police were able to track the vehicle and arrest the men at a BP garage. There they found the stolen cash inside the car and personal items from a designer handbag which was also stolen. As first reported on WalesOnline, Mr Hobson told the court that defendant Hussain "struggled" with officers while being arrested, resulting in minor injuries to a constable. Aftab, aged 28, of Billesley, Birmingham; Ali, aged 26, of Erdington, Birmingham; and 38-year-old Hussain, of Small Heath, Birmingham, had all previously pleaded guilty to a joint charge of robbery when they appeared in the dock together for sentencing. Ali Naseem Bajwa QC, for Aftab, told the court that his client had been working as a "taxi driver". He said: "His whole future has been blighted by reason of the madness he took part in." Sentencing took place at Swansea Crown Court on 23 September where Recorder Elwen Evans QC told the trio: "This was a targeted, high value robbery and you came from Birmingham to carry it out. "You set out from Birmigham and by 6.30pm you were in the marina area where you committed the robbery. It is fortunate there were witnesses and they were able to provide the car's licence plates to police, and you were stopped by police on the A48 near Bridgend. "Two adults males were punching a lone woman while the third waited nearby to drive you back to Birmingham. "When sought to explain why, I was told the offence was motivated by the lure of easy money, but none of you has provided the [pre-sentence] report writers further context, and one of them says it is factually perplexing. "You all say you are sorry and express remorse, but it is difficult to properly evaluate because of your unwillingness [to explain] how you came to be involved in this organised criminal offence. "You are all of good character, or as the prosecution assesses effectively so. You are all family men with family commitments. "But the culpability and harm falls above a standard street robbery."
The three men were all sentenced to four years and six months in jail, after a reduction of a third following their guilty pleas, and told they would serve half of that in custody before being released on licence.
Images: Source; South Wales Police