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Jailed robber loses appeal after moving to Skegness to evade justice

By East Lindsey Target  |  Posted: October 20, 2012

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A WOMAN who went on the run after mugging two teenage girls of their mobile phones has been told by top judges she cannot complain about her jail term.

Hayley Louise Mitchell, 27, committed the offence with her husband Ashley in Sheffield in December 2009 but while he was jailed, she evaded justice by moving to Skegness.

Mitchell, of Park Avenue, Skegness, was jailed for two years in April after police finally caught up with her.

Last week, she challenged her sentence at London's Criminal Appeal Court, with her lawyers arguing it was 'too long' in light of her poor physical and mental health.

But her appeal was dismissed by three of the country's most senior judges, who said the term was 'not excessive'.

The court heard Mitchell was with her husband when she approached the two victims on December 22 2009 and grabbed hold of them, demanding their mobile phones.

When they refused to hand them over, Mitchell slammed her fist into the chest of one of the victims and said she had a knife in her pocket and would use it.

Her husband also said he had a knife and both of the terrified girls handed over their phones.

When arrested four days later, on Boxing Day, Mitchell still had both phones in her possession.

She and her husband both admitted two counts of robbery at Sheffield Crown Court in February 2010 but, while he was jailed for 18 months in November that year, she disappeared off the radar. Mitchell claimed she had gone to Skegness to be near her family so they could help her because of her extensive medical problems.

As she didn't stay in contact with her solicitors, and the authorities didn't know her whereabouts, she remained at large until January this year, when she was arrested at her home.

The court heard she had a record of previous convictions for offences committed between 1998 and 2010, but her husband was treated as a person of good character by the crown court judge.

Her lawyers urged the Appeal Court to reduce her sentence, saying there was not enough allowance made for her myriad of health problems. The court heard she suffers from depression, asthma and epilepsy and has also had bouts of septicaemia, pneumonia and pancreatitis. Her legal team argued the crown court judge should have adjourned her sentencing hearing for an up-to-date medical report, as the only information he had was from 2010. But, dismissing her appeal, Judge Peter Rook QC said that, despite her poor health, there was no evidence her condition had worsened and the sentence was 'not excessive'.

The judge, sitting with Lord Justice Aikens and Mr Justice Singh, added: "We have come to the conclusion that, unfortunate though the appellant's condition is, there is no evidence of further deterioration since she was sentenced.

"This was a serious robbery, the sentence properly reflected her role and her previous convictions."

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  • eatmygoal  |  October 22 2012, 9:45AM

    "they know from the outset they are guilty so it can only be for the money," They were appealing an unduly harsh sentence. They were instructed by the client on her behalf because she felt that given her conditions the sentence was too long. It is for the court to decide whether that is the case or not, not for the lawyers so they have every right to represent her. Not for this example but If they are to turn down cases because they think someone is guilty then why bother with the whole combersome process of being tried by their peers?

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  • VictorToo  |  October 22 2012, 8:48AM

    She wasn't so poorly that she couldn't commit the crime, so there's no reason why she shouldn't do the punishment. Anyway, they have access to medical treatment in prison don't they ?

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  • gsx1100  |  October 21 2012, 9:32PM

    After taking a shortcut through a cemetery, I noticed the epitaph on a headstone. "Here lies a lawyer and honest man". I still can't work out why they buried two people in one grave. Take note, NAHRY.

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  • NAHRY  |  October 21 2012, 5:39PM

    Please don't slate lawyers, even as law abiding citizen you could find yourself grateful and indebted to their help one day...!!!

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  • Adrian1208  |  October 21 2012, 12:05AM

    The woman is clearly a dangerous individual, the two girls are the ones to feel sorry for in all this. Her offending has been ongoing for a number of years so she deserves a sentence of a number of years, 2yrs I would think she got off very lightly. I hope she struggles in prison...

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  • peterke  |  October 20 2012, 10:04AM

    Liars oops i ment Lawyers she had two of them, one wonders what their little game appealing cost the taxpayer, for sure it gave them fat pay cheques.What do these lawyers think when defending such people , they know from the outset they are guilty so it can only be for the money, i,m in the wrong job i have to work hard for my money. A way out of this is when a Lawyer(s) looses their appeal they shouldnt get paid again.

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