May 24 2013 Latest news:
by Stephen Moore
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
A masked teenager who mugged a BBC news correspondent at knifepoint yards from his Muswell Hill home has been jailed for four years.
Tom Symonds, 42, a home affairs correspondent for the BBC, was approached by 19-year-old Jason Harewood as he made his way home at 10.40pm on March 15 this year.
He later wrote an article on the experience, saying he “did the right thing” and handed over his phone and wallet, “desperately trying not to raise the temperature of the encounter” near Fortis Green, Muswell Hill.
Knife-wielding Harewood, of Andover Road, Holloway, left Mr Symonds frozen outside his front door by telling him not to call the police because he had “got a mate watching where you live”.
After weighing up the dangers to his wife and children for 30 seconds and deciding “he had to be bluffing”, Mr Symonds dialled 999.
Within minutes Haringey’s specialist plain-clothed Q-Cars robbery squad arrived and drove Mr Symonds around looking for Harewood.
By coincidence the squad had received an iPad that day to help them find stolen phones installed with tracking devices, which led them straight to Harewood in Holloway.
He fled and threw the phone away, but was caught on a garage roof. The phone was found nearby, and despite claiming he wasn’t in Muswell Hill at the time, Harewood’s Oyster card and bus CCTV proved he had been there moments before.
He pleaded guilty before the trial began, and on Friday was sentenced at Wood Green Crown Court to four years detention in a young offenders’ institute for robbery.
Thanking Mr Symonds for helping them “do what we like to do best” by installing and using a tracker app on his phone, Det Con John Martin, investigating officer of Haringey CID, said: “I am pleased that [Harewood] will not be walking the streets for a significant period of time.”
The self-emplyed teenager had only been released on licence “a couple of weeks” before the robbery, having served half of a two-year sentence for another knifepoint robbery, also in Muswell Hill, he added.
Borough commander Sandra Looby urged people “help” them catch criminals and recover stolen goods by installing and using theft recovery apps on their phones, laptops and other devices - some of which take photos of the person using them - and to set a lock code so they can’t be deactivated by the thief.