Man who mugged a disabled Newcastle Uni student is sentenced

Alex Nicklen, 20, says that The Tab’s coverage of the story helped find his attacker


A Newcastle university student has spoken of his relief and delight after justice has been brought to a man who threatened him with extreme violence and mugged him on campus in broad daylight in February 2016.

The attacker, Martin Tokar, was given a three and a half year sentence in Newcastle on Wednesday, which includes a 12 month concurrent sentence for the stealing a woman’s handbag in April 2016.

Martin Tokar was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison for the attack.

The attack on Alex, a second year Politics and History student, took place at 3pm on the 14th February 2016 on Claremont Road outside the university building Merz Court, and was captured on CCTV.

The mugger told Alex, who has a minor disability that makes running and walking painful and slow, to “give me your phone or I’ll put a gun to your head”.

After the sentencing, Alex said he felt justice had been served, saying: “I think the judge and Court sent a strong message that if you target the weakest members of society, you will face a strong punishment.

Alex was attacked in February last year

Alex also said that the Tab’s coverage of the incident helped gain public attention for the story and therefore helped the police find the attacker.

Alex said: “I would also like to thank The Tab for first reporting on this and thus publicising the case. This led to wider media attention, which was absolutely crucial in resolving the case. I also am sure that the media attention did play a crucial role in finding the man in question”.

Dc Shaun Fordy of Northumbria Police said: “The robberies committed by Martin Tokar were despicable attacks on victims which he considered to be vulnerable and easy targets”.

“I welcome the sentence passed by the Court which should send a clear message to those criminals who think it is acceptable to target vulnerable members of our communities. I also wish to commend the courage of the victims and the assistance provided by the public.

Alex, who’s from Morpeth, Northumberland, told The Tab after the incident that it was his belief that he had been specifically targeted because of his disability: “When he was in front of me, my body was telling me to run but consciously I knew I didn’t have the capabilities to defend myself or escape from the situation.

“My thought was not that I was going to get shot – I didn’t think at the time that was very likely – but he was about 5’11” with an athletic build and he clearly had the capacity to beat me up at the very least.”

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