Teenage machete thug locked up for series of brutal robberies

A machete-wielding teenager has been incarcerated for a series of violent bike robberies in Richmond – including an attack on professional cyclist Alexandar Richardson. The 17-year-old, who was just 15 at the time when he carried out the offences, was caught when he walked into a cafe where police officers were planning how they might be able to locate and arrest him.

He appeared at Croydon Youth Court last month, where he admitted two counts of moped-enabled robbery, one count of attempted robbery and possession of criminal property.

He was yesterday sentenced to 12 months (six months’ imprisonment and six months on licence) after a hearing at Wimbledon Youth Court.

Detective Constable Ian Croxford, from Operation Venice, said: “The defendant carried out a number of terrifying offences with no regard for the safety of the victims or the injuries he could cause by ramming them off their bikes and dragging them along the road. It was only by good fortune that none of them were more seriously hurt.

“All of the victims have spoken of the effect these robberies have had on their lives. No-one should have to change the way they behave because of the violent actions of others and we are pleased that this defendant has now been prosecuted.”

On Thursday, October 7, 2021 the teenager travelled to Richmond Park on a stolen moped, accompanied by three other males.

Once there he targeted a man riding a high-value bike, chasing him at speed and deliberately crashing into his side to knock him off.

The victim, professional cyclist Alex Richardson, was dragged across the road at speed as he held onto his bike, worth £15,000.

He was subsequently threatened with a large machete at which point he handed the bike over.

Officers carried out extensive enquiries at the scene but no trace of the suspects was found.

Mr Richardson, who was training for an upcoming race, was left with injuries to his ribs, back, knees, ankles and arms and suffered head pain as a result of his head hitting the road.

While the police investigation was ongoing, two further offences took place in the Richmond Park area on Monday, October 11, 2021.

At about 5pm, a man in his 50s was confronted for his bike in Roehampton Lane. The suspects failed to drive into him and he was able to escape.

Seconds later, the defendant rode into a second man on Danebury Avenue, SW15 and stole his bike. He too was threatened with a machete and suffered injuries as a result of his fall.

Officers from the Met’s Operation Venice team carried out enquiries, including a comprehensive CCTV trawl, which led to the identification of the 15-year-old as their key suspect.

Less than a week later, on Friday, 15 October, warrants were executed at several addresses but no suspect was found. The team headed to nearby café for breakfast to discuss next steps; whilst there, their wanted male walked into the same building. He was promptly arrested – a search found a machete tucked down his trousers, a balaclava, and a large quantity of cash.

Clothing found at properties linked to him matched the descriptions provided by the victims, while a download of his phone revealed an image of Mr Richardson’s stolen bike leaning against a wall near the park. This £15,000 stolen bike was completely custom-built and no other version of it existed. Phone data showed that the photograph was taken a couple of minutes after the robbery.

Mr Richardson, who previously shared details of the frightening robbery via Instagram, said: “This crime made me fear for my life; I thought I could be murdered at that moment and it continues to cause feelings of anxiety, stress, sleepless nights and a fear to my family’s safety to the point we have hired overnight security at our property on more than one occasion.

“I have a huge fear of riding my bike now on open roads in the UK as this could happen again at any time. My children have also been affected, they have had disturbed sleep and are traumatised by what they saw in the evening with my physical injuries.

“No one should have to feel this way. I wouldn’t want anyone to go through what I have.”

Detective Constable Ian Croxford added: “I want to sincerely thank the public who responded to our media appeal about this incident and shared videos from their cameras and CCTV.

“We would always ask victims or witnesses to contact us as soon as a robbery occurs – the ‘golden hour’ is critical to us in gathering crucial evidence and suspect descriptions which helps us to catch the offenders. We know the impact robberies have on each and every victim and we are determined to both reduce the number of offences that take place as well as improving our detection rates.”

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