THREE teenage thugs have been put behind bars after committing terrifying robberies during which chilling threats were made.
Among the targets were two 13-year-old boys, who were told that they could have been raped, ‘skinned’ and had their teeth stolen.
The gang – made up of Jamie Poole, Liam Connelly and Ryan Bridgeman – also issued horrible threats to kill and stab the boys’ family if they reported what had happened.
The joint enterprise trio were charged with three counts each of robbery, and all appeared before Liverpool Crown Court to be sentenced on Thursday, February 26.
Olivia Beesley, prosecuting, explained how all incidents took place on March 23, 2021, when the defendants were either 16 or 17.
The first occurred in Brickfield Park in Orford, with the victim also being a 16-year-old boy. Poole owed money to a friend of the boy, and a meet-up was arranged at picnic benches in the park.
At around 6pm, he was approached by three men wearing black clothing and with their faces covered.
Multiple punches were thrown by the group towards the boy, who was staggering before being struck again with a knee.
The thugs then took his Samsung Galaxy mobile phone, Napapijri jacket and hat before making off down an alleyway.
The victim followed them asking for his hat back, leading one of the gang to pulled out a knife with a three-inch blade, but this was swiftly holstered again.
In a statement, the victim said he was annoyed as he had owned his hat for 10 years. He told his parents what had happened when he returned home and they called the police.
The second and third robberies took place in Sankey Valley Park an hour later, with both victims being 13-year-old boys.
At around 7pm, the boys were heading home through the park after seeing friends, with one on a mountain bike and the other jogging alongside.
They saw the three defendants behind them, again with their faces covered and wearing black clothing, with one carrying what appeared to be garden clippers.
One of the gang commandeered the bike while the others demanded their phones, seizing a Samsung Galaxy, an iPhone and a £5 note after intimidating the boys and counting down from five.
One of the incidents occurred in Sankey Valley Park
The victims were said to be in tears, but this did not cause the thugs to leave them alone. They made the victims remove their shoes so they could not run away, rejected calls from one of the boys’ dads and made them restore the phones to their factory settings.
One of the youngsters cleverly asked for his phone case back, which he was given, hoping that there would be fingerprints on it.
The robbers threatened to kill the boys’ families and stab one of their dads in the throat if they told anyone what had happened.
They also said they could have raped them, ‘skinned’ them and took all their clothes and their teeth.
The threats did not work however, as the victims told their family when they returned home and the police were informed.
The defendants were arrested over the next 24 hours, with officers recovering most of the stolen items and securing DNA evidence
In a statement, one boy said he was very scared and now feels humiliated and vulnerable, with talk of hurting his family really upsetting him.
He does not think he will ever return to the park as it brings back bad memories, while the second boy said he now takes the long route home to avoid the park, which he is now too scared to enter.
He added that he used to love going out to see friends but is now more reluctant, and when he does go out it is in a place with lots of people around.
The court heard how Connelly has one previous conviction for five offences, including for robbery, while his two co-defendants are of previous good character.
Defending Poole, Mark Roberts said “This is a young man who sits before you as terrified as he is contrite.
“He knows he has committed a very serious offence, and that the court and society will not and cannot allow that sort of behaviour.”
He added that the actions of the now 19-year-old, of Leicester Street in Whitecross, were a ‘moment of madness’ and displayed ‘bravado and immaturity rather than deep-rooted criminal intent’.
The first robbery took place in Brickfield Park
The barrister highlighted his client, who was struggling to cope with becoming a father at the time of the offence, had a troubled upbringing, was using drugs at the time and is ashamed of himself.
Meanwhile, the court heard from Jeremy Rawson how Connelly is in full-time employment, has advanced in his role to become a supervisor and has not offended since.
“It is a different person who appears in the dock than the foolish young man involved in this enterprise,” he said of the now 18-year-old, of Mathers Close in Cinnamon Brow.
Moreover, in defence of, Bridgeman, Philip Tulley spoke of how he is a young man who has shown genuine remorse and regret, and an insight into the impact of his offending.
The barrister said his client, now aged 18-year-old and of Yardley Avenue in Bewsey, describes his conduct that day as ‘disgraceful’ and that the offence was completely out of character.
Despite his difficult upbringing, it was said that there is a different ‘loving and caring’ side to the defendant, who is ‘capable of living a constructive life’.
All defence barristers asked judge Stuart Driver to consider suspending the inevitable custodial sentences, but they were told “The inevitable length of the sentences mean that this is not possible.
“In this case, appropriate punishment can only be achieved by way of immediate imprisonment.”
Poole and Connelly were both handed custodial terms of 33 months detention, while Bridgeman was locked up for 30 months, all to be served in a young offender institution.
The court also approved restraining orders prohibiting the defendants from contacting four named individuals for a period of five years.