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Man jailed after mugging teenage girl in Staplehurst

By Paul Hooper

A man has been jailed for three and a half years after admitting to mugging a 13-year-old schoolgirl to fund his drug habit.

Tommy Lawrance, 21, of South Bank, Staplehurst, revealed that he pounced on the youngster intending to rob her.

But he was acquitted by a jury of attempting to sexually assault her in February 2017.

Lawrance is from South Bank, Staplehurst (13374108)
Lawrance is from South Bank, Staplehurst (13374108)

Lawrance had pleaded guilty to assault intending to rob the teenager.

Prosecutor Hugh Forgan revealed how Lawrance fled, leaving behind his boxer shorts.

The father-of two said he had been to watch and ride motocross in Harrietsham earlier that day.

He told the court: "When I got home I wanted to go and get some cocaine but I hadn't got enough money. I started raiding the house for money - which meant I was looking around for money but I didn't find any."

He said he went into the village and was near Station Approach when he spotted his victim.

He appeared at Maidstone Crown Court
He appeared at Maidstone Crown Court

"It was a spur of the minute thing when I decided I wanted to get money.

"We walked past each other. I started back and I then put one hand around her mouth and the other on the back of her head. I said: 'Give me all your money!'"

He said it was only when she turned around he realised how young she was.

Lawrance said in court: "She was scared and frightened and I thought I have got this wrong."

He claimed he was about to relieve himself nearby when he heard raised voices and tried to hide.

The teenage girl ran home and reported her ordeal to her family and some of them then went searching the area where the mugging happened.

She told the jury at Maidstone Crown Court that Lawrance was spotted two hours later and held until police officers arrived.

Lawrance claimed after being held he was left with a broken nose and a bruised left eye.

He told his counsel Ben Irwin that he felt "horrified" by his actions.

Speaking about what happened two years ago, he added: "I was struggling with cocaine, taking it five or six times a week."

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