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Home Gravesend News Article
A heroin addict who accused a man of chatting up his girlfriend before punching and robbing him has been jailed for two years and two months.
Paul Kelly, who was said to have a hole in his leg caused by the ravages of drug abuse, attacked Gary Smith just minutes after he had withdrawn £80 from a cash machine in Gravesend town centre.
Despite his ordeal, during which he curled up into a ball on the ground to protect himself, 59-year-old Mr Smith managed to follow Kelly while speaking to a 999 call operator.
Kelly, 44, together with his girlfriend Gemma Gurr were arrested in a car park and police found £70 in Gurr's underwear.
Father-of-two Kelly, of Foxwood Way, New Barn, near Longfield, has 54 previous convictions. He admitted robbery.
While on bail for the robbery of Mr Smith, Maidstone Crown Court heard he armed himself with a metal bedframe during a street row in February this year. He admitted having an offensive weapon and a public order offence.
Gurr, 24, of Hampton Crescent, Gravesend, denied robbery but admitted handling stolen goods and is awaiting sentence.
Prosecutor Bridget Todd said Mr Smith withdrew the money from a cash machine just after midnight on September 3, last year.
He was walking past McDonald's and towards the Civic Centre when he saw Gurr.
The pair knew each other through a counselling course and shared a brief chat.
However, as Mr Smith continued his walk he was confronted by Kelly.
The prosecutor said: "He accused Mr Smith of trying to chat up his girlfriend, referring to Gemma Gurr. Mr Smith explained that he knew her.
"At that point he said Kelly punched him to the right side of his head. He was able to stay on his feet, but there was a struggle and Kelly was pulling him by his jumper."
Mr Smith fell and curled into a ball to protect himself. The court heard Kelly began to demand money, while still asking: "What are you doing chatting up my bird?"
Mr Smith was again punched and a second man joined in by rummaging through his pockets.
"He tried to follow them at a safe distance and was on the phone to the police," said the prosecutor.
"Police went to the scene and both Kelly and Gurr were arrested in a nearby car park. She was searched and in her underclothes was found £70."
Mr Smith suffered slight reddening to his cheek, but did not need medical treatment.
John Fitzgerald, defending Kelly, said Mr Smith had not been "targeted" by Kelly. Both knew each other and the incident centred around a drug debt.
Mr Fitzgerald described the row in February while Kelly was on bail as "six of one, half a dozen of the other".
Kelly armed himself with a metal bedframe and the other man had a broken glass bottle and a For Sale sign as they confronted each other in the street.
The court was told Kelly had been using heroin since the age of 19 and suffered a collapsed lung following a bout of pneumonia.
Danny Moore, defending Gurr, said she admitted handling on the basis that she was not aware of what had occurred between Kelly and Mr Smith.
He added she only became involved when they heard the police sirens and Kelly asked her to hide the money.
Gurr will be sentenced in September and has been released on bail.
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