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UEA students bravely fight back against street robber

They were attacked on University Drive and Wycliffe Road

Two UEA international students were the victims of attempted robbery just 15 minutes apart, a court has heard.

35-year-old Simon Garratt was on his bike and first targeted the bag of a student as she walked along University Drive, a road frequently used by students at the University of East-Anglia (UEA).

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Simon Garratt. PIC: Norfolk Constabulary.

The student, 28, bravely fought back, and the pair struggled with the bag until she was "pulled so hard she lost her balance", falling to the ground. Prosecuting at the Norwich Crown Court, Martin Ivory said that the victim's face was injured in the struggle, resulting in bruising and cuts, however she kept a hold of her bag until a witness came to her aid and Garratt cycled away.

David Stewart, mitigating, says the "unsophisticated" and "somewhat inept" attack by the defendant stemmed from drug addiction, and caused only minor injuries.

15 minutes later the second victim, a 19-year-old student, was targeted by Garratt as she walked along Wycliffe Road in Norwich, formerly the residence of the defendant.

The student had been texting as she walked to UEA, when Garratt "snatched the phone out of her hand" as he cycled past her.

The brave student then "pursued" the defendant on foot and successfully caught up with him and "snatched her phone back out of his hand". Garratt then wrenched her purse from her other hand and fled with her bank card.

This was not Garratt's first attempt, the court heard, as he had previously admitted attempted robbery, robbery and theft in an earlier hearing on August 28.

Judge Stephen Holt has sentenced Garratt to a total of three years and four months in prison. Judge Holt accused the defendant of intentionally living near UEA, which he has described as one of the 'jewels of the county', renowned as a prestigious institution that attracts students both within the UK and internationally.

Judge Holt said Garratt had "set out that morning to rob whoever [he] came across", as the majority of students making their way home from the university would be "very vulnerable" due to expensive technology they would be carrying in their bags.