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Drifter Dean Ludwell is spared jail after attempted robbery in Darlington
A WOMAN fought off a subway attacker who tried to grab her handbag, a court was told.
Dean Ludwell had been sleeping rough when he confronted the 60-year-old victim as she walked through an underpass near Marks & Spencer's in Darlington town centre.
Having asked the woman the time, Ludwell then stood in front of her, blocking her path, and proceeded to grab the handles of the bag which she was holding in her left hand.
Prosecuting, Jenny Haigh told Teesside Crown Court that the defendant attempted to yank the bag away from her, but the woman shouted 'Get off get off' and screamed which caused Ludwell to run off.
The bag belonging to the woman – who works in a nearby amusement arcade – contained her work keys and £200 cash, Ms Haigh said.
Although the victim was uninjured following the incident on the early morning of September 28, she told police she was in tears and could not stop shaking upon her arrival at work.
Ludwell was arrested by officers after the victim gave them a description of him – and she went on to identify him in a police line-up.
The 21-year-old, who hails from Weston-super-Mare, in Somerset, claimed he had fallen asleep on a train and woken up in Darlington the previous day.
He had spent the £20 he had in his pocket and slept rough overnight as he had no way of communicating with his family.
Amrit Jandoo, representing Ludwell, who admitted attempted robbery, said he had shown clear remorse.
“The only reason that this offence occurred was purely out of desperation,” he added.
The judge, Recorder David Dobbin said there was an element of pre-planning in Ludwell's actions.
However he took into account the fact that that he gave up when the victim held onto her bag and the four weeks he had already spent on remand in custody.
Jobless Ludwell was given a nine month jail sentence, suspended for 18 months, and would attend a 'Thinking Skills' treatment programme, the judge said.
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