A 15-YEAR-OLD who threatened to shoot his terrified victims in a gunpoint robbery has been locked up for a year.
The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was just 14 when he and two accomplices used what their victims believed was a shotgun to carry out the robbery in Chatsworth Crescent, Hounslow, on October 17 last year.
The robbery came less than a year after he had stabbed a suspected 'snitch' twice on the Redwood estate, in Cranford, aged only 13, for which he received a youth rehabilitation order.
The 15-year-old, of Hounslow, admitted one charge of robbery and three of attempted robbery. He was found guilty of a further count of possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.
He appeared at Isleworth Crown Court on Monday (April 29), where he was given a two year detention and training order, half of which will be spent in detention.
Sentencing him, Mr Recorder Michael Holland QC said the teenager and his accomplices had intended to carry out a drugs robbery but got the wrong victims. He said the weapon, which was never recovered, had been loaded in front of the victims and the teenager had threatened to shoot them.
"Whether or not it was a real, functioning gun, the effect of watching a shotgun being loaded whilst young men were in the process of trying to rob the victims must have been terrifying," added the judge.
The teenager was subject to an ASBO (anti-social behaviour order), banning him from speaking to one of his accomplices, and a supervision order at the time of the crime. The court heard he had a long list of previous offences.
Shanda McAteer, representing him, told the court he failed to understand the serious nature of the robbery, describing it as 'only messing about'.
She said his list of past convictions was 'frankly horrifying' for someone his age but his background meant 'casual law-breaking' was a part of his life from a young age and many of his early crimes had been committed with family members.
Four men were charged in connection with the robbery, which involved four victims aged 16-18. The case against one was later dismissed due to a lack of evidence.
Hamza Benothman, 19, of Chapel Road, Hounslow, and Nathan Smith, 21, of Verdun Road, Barnes, faced the same charges as the teenager. They denied all five counts but were found guilty of each. They are due to be sentenced on Friday (May 3).
DC Andrea Lunt and Sergeant Dan Thompson, of Hounslow Police, said they had 'doggedly pursued' the trio, despite the victims' reluctance to give evidence.