The 85-year-old victim was walking in Hull when she was floored and had her bag snatched – she had been set upon by Matthew Goodwillie and Adam Fenton
Image: Hull Live/MEN)
An elderly nun could have been killed when she was mown down and mugged for her holy water by moped thugs, Hull Crown Court heard on Friday.
The elderly sister was walking in Hull on November 23, 2019 at roughly 7.45pm when she was floored and had her bag snatched by Matthew Goodwillie, 23, and teenager Adam Fenton, now 21.
The dazed victim could not remember how many people had been on the moped and only noticed that her handbag had been stolen when she was helped to her feet by a shocked bystander.
A teenager riding on the back of the vehicle was identified at the time as Fenton, and officers arresting him also found a significant amount of cannabis at his home address.
Fenton then led officers to the moped driver, Goodwillie who would have avoided charges had it not been for the significant assistance of Fenton.
For his part in the robbery and for possession with intent to supply Fenton was given a 24-month suspended sentence and a community order of 200 hours unpaid work.
Goodwillie, of Hull, was identified as the leader in the abhorrent crime and received five years and 11 months imprisonment
for his part in the robbery and for possession of a bladed weapon in September this year.
CCTV, shown to Judge John Thackray, showed a moped passing the nun before turning around, mounting the pavement and knocking her to the ground.
The contents of the handbag was mainly personal items including keys with addresses written on tags, a silver medal on a string and a bottle of holy water.
All of these were returned when the bag was later found discarded.
Fenton was identified as the rider of the moped seen on CCTV and upon his arrest, 30 bags of cannabis with a street value of around £535 were found at his address alongside drugs paraphernalia.
There was evidence on mobile phones also found at the address that Fenton was facing significant pressure from people who claimed he owed them money, sent as messages on the day of the robbery.
Prosecutor Ms Jessica Strange described the delays the case had faced due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Ms Strange told the court that after pleading guilty to both the charge of robbery and possession with intent to supply, Fenton had already indicated that he was willing to assist police in locating the driver of the moped.
Goodwillie had a number of previous convictions ranging from drug offences to battery and criminal damage.
Defence barrister Steven Garth told the court that Goodwillie had suffered a “wretched upbringing” and said he had been on medication for unconfirmed schizophrenia and paranoia for a number of years.
Mr Garth also confirmed that Goodwillie had experienced problems with Class A drug addiction since the age of just 13.
Describing the robbery, Mr Garth said: “It was a wicked act on his part and a terrible ordeal for the elderly victim.”
Judge Thackray agreed, telling Goodwillie: “Your carefully chosen victim was an 85-year-old lady walking on her own at night, among the most vulnerable people in our society.
“You drove into her on a moped and rammed her to the ground, such an action could have caused serious injury if not a fatality.
“I have not the first trouble in identifying you as the lead in this enterprise being the older man at the time of the offence and exerting considerable influence on you co-defendant.”
Goodwillie was sentenced to 63 months imprisonment for his part in the robbery and a further eight months for possession of a bladed weapon in a public place which occurred in September this year, meaning a total sentence of five years and 11 months.
Judge Thackray recognised that without Fenton’s help, Goodwillie would have escaped justice and that the information had been given at great personal risk with Fenton confirming he had received indirect personal threats.
When passing his sentence, Judge Thackray told Fenton: “You should consider yourself extremely lucky.”
Fenton was given a 24-month suspended sentence for his part in the robbery with a community order of 200 hours unpaid work and 20 days on a rehabilitation course.