Melton mugger’s jail sentence is halved at appeal court hearing

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A grateful mugger, who hugged and thanked his terrified victim after robbing him in Melton, had his sentence halved by top judges on Friday.

James Woollastone (31) threatened to “mess up” his 18-year-old victim if he didn’t hand over £3, London’s Appeal Court heard.

However, he was then overwhelmed by emotion after he managed to grab £10 from the youth’s wallet.

“Somewhat unusually he thanked him and hugged him twice”, said Mr Justice Foskett.

Woollastone, from Melton, began chatting to his shaken victim - holding forth about his personal problems - before finally walking off with the cash.

Woollastone, who staged the robbery in Burton Road in June, was jailed for 24 months at Leicester Crown Court in September after admitting robbery.

However, his case reached the appeal court as his lawyers challenged the sentence, claiming it was just too harsh.

Mr Justice Foskett, sitting with Judge Jeremy Carey, rejected claims that Woollastone should have received a suspended term, noting the “seriousness” of his crime,

However, while “not wishing to under-estimate the impact of this offence on the victim”, the appeal judge said two years was too long.

Woollastone had received glowing reports inside prison, said Mr Justice Foskett, halving his sentence to 12 months.

The judge concluded: “We hope that, when he is released, he will take active steps to put himself on the right track.”

Woollastone said “thank you” to the judge as he was led back to the cells.