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David Hilden found guilty of theft, having a weapon in public and assault at Victoria Park, Ashford

By Sean Axtell

An "arrogant" knife-wielding thief who preyed on vulnerable young people wept as he was told he was facing time in prison.

David Hilden placed a blade to his victim's throat and said "Do you know who I am?" then snatched his phone.

The 19-year-old told Canterbury Crown Court he didn’t steal the device but bought it from the victim for £30.

Hilden threatened one of his victims at the water fountain in Ashford's Victoria Park
Hilden threatened one of his victims at the water fountain in Ashford's Victoria Park

Judge James O'Mahony told Hilden: "No one has a higher opinion of you than yourself.

"I have watched you and you are the most arrogant person I have seen in my court room for a long time.

"They were all much younger than you.

“You had a knife, not the first time you had a weapon.

“You will be remanded in custody, you are going to prison for a significant amount of time.”

During a four day trial the court heard Hilden approached two teenagers and one vulnerable adult by the water fountain in Ashford’s Victoria Park shortly after 11pm.

One teenager was left "petrified" after Hilden, who was drunk, came "flying up" and placed the weapon to one of the group's throat.

An eye-witness told the jury: "David came flying straight up and said (to my friend) 'do you know who I am?'"

Judge James O'Mahony criticised David Hilden's attitude
Judge James O'Mahony criticised David Hilden's attitude

Prosecutor Shannon Revel asked: "What did he do to the victim?"

He responded: "He put a knife to his throat.

"He was petrified - he said 'yes I do know you 'Daveyboy.'"

The court heard Hilden asked the trio to walk towards the Phoenix sports bar in Tufton Street when he snatched the Samsung Galaxy and grabbed the victim's girlfriend’s arm.

He had a second blade inside his back pocket and began pestering the girl for sexual gratification, the jury heard.

"What did she say?" asked Miss Revel.

"She said no," replied one of the group.

Giving evidence, the girl said she was left with bruising to her arm.

Canterbury Crown Court (8633809)
Canterbury Crown Court (8633809)

"I was just really scared and wanted to go home.

"He said 'hold my hand otherwise I will hurt your boyfriend," she added.

The court heard Hilden tried dragging one of the teens into the Phoenix but door staff refused entry during the June 9 incident.

When Hilden entered the pub the trio escaped.

Hilden, represented by barrister Peter Hogben, told the jury he hadn’t robbed the teenager but bought the phone for £30.

“I asked if anyone had a phone I could use and he said I could use his,” Hilden said.

“He got it out of his rucksack and said did I know anyone who wanted to buy it.

“I used the phone and said I’d buy it and I handed over £30. That was what I offered him and he accepted it.

"I have watched you and you are the most arrogant person I have seen in my court room for a long time" - Judge James O'Mahony

“I put it in my pocket.”

Hilden, of Sackville Close, Ashford, told the jury that earlier that evening he had been in the Singleton Barn, Singleton celebrating the birth of his daughter.

He left about 11.30pm by which time he was “halfway to getting drunk.”

“I decided to walk up to Ashford town centre,” he said.

“I went to Victoria Park as it was on the route.

“They said they were bored and I told them they were more than welcome to walk with me to the Phoenix pub."

Cross examined Hilden denied having any knives or threatening the teenager with a knife and robbing him.

He also denied assaulting a girl in the group and grabbing her arm.

But the jury unanimously found Hilden guilty of theft, having a bladed article in public and assault by beating.

He was cleared of the more serious charge of robbery.

Sentencing will take place in a May after the probation service provides a five week report.

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