Southsea street robber jailed for nine years

Andrew Sweatman
Andrew Sweatman
Picture: Highways England/Twitter

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A WOMAN was kicked in the face in a ‘vicious’ attack during a ‘life-changing’ handbag-snatch robbery.

Andrew Sweatman, 30, has been jailed for nine years after launching the attack in Southsea.

He was arrested after police investigating four similar incidents earlier this year charged him with robbing a 63-year-old in Boulton Road.

She had been walking home from the shops when Sweatman shouted ‘give me your bag’ before kicking her as she was on the ground clutching her bag defending herself.

Portsmouth Crown Court heard the victim suffered a nasty facial injury where she was kicked.

She had also been left with swelling and bruising, police said at the time.

In a statement read in court, the victim said: ’This malicious and traumatic attack was beyond belief, worse than anything I have ever endured.’

Police have since praised a resident who rushed to help the woman.

Sweatman, who had shaved his head and beard for the court case, was convicted of attempted robbery after a trial and then jailed.

He had denied being responsible for the attempted robbery.

Judge Sarah Munro QC jailed him for nine years.

DC Samantha Hockley said: ‘I wish to thank the members of public who came to assistance of the aggrieved after this violent attack and I am pleased that the sentence reflects the vicious crime’.

DI Paul Masters added: ‘This was a particularly nasty street robbery, targeting a lone 63-year-old woman.

‘The nine-year sentence reflects the seriousness of the crime and I hope this will enable the victim to put the incident behind her and reassures the public that a dangerous man is now behind bars.’

Sweatman, of no fixed address, was arrested after a major manhunt in Portsmouth following four robberies of older women.

Extra patrols were put in place, with Chief Inspector Jim Pegler saying it was the force’s top priority.

Sweatman was not accused of the three other robberies police investigated at the time, which involved women aged 79, 39 and 81, between January 8 and 12.

Speaking to The News, a 49-year-old Boulton Road resident, who asked not to be named, said: ‘I think it’s fantastic that he’s been caught and people are safe in the area.

‘I heard about the attack a day or two after it happened.

‘I didn’t personally feel threatened, but people who are more vulnerable probably felt scared to walk out after dark.

‘People were saying “be careful” and everything, so it’s good for everybody.’