Two teen robbers from west London have been jailed for manslaughter on Monday (February 12) after chasing a man through Reading town centre before he eventually suffered a fatal head injury in a fall.
At the pair's sentencing at Reading Crown Court, the jury heard how Shidane and Faysal were part of a gang who would travel from west London to mug people in Reading.
Members would arrive late at night or during the early hours of the morning before targeting drunk men and threatening them, often with knives, the court was told.
Shidane and Faysal, who demanded cash, phones, cards and pin numbers off their victims, approached 31-year-old Mr O'Brien on Sunday July 2, 2017, in Oxford Road.
They tried to persuade the victim, who was by a Metrobank cash point, to give him the money he had withdrawn so they could find him a taxi.
Mr O'Brien, father to a seven-year-old boy, eventually managed to push them away but was chased to Southampton Street, where he went down an alley and somehow suffered a serious head injury.
It is not known what exactly happened but it is believed he suffered the head injury by either being hit with a weapon or falling to the ground.
Left disorientated and heavily bleeding, Mr O'Brien managed to get inside a nearby block of flats before finding himself in a courtyard and realising there was no way out.
The court heard he managed to reach the second floor but fell and suffered fatal injuries.
Emotional tributes were read out in court by Mr O'Brien's mother Jennifer, who said the effect on the family had been huge after her son's death.
She said the eldest of her four sons was a “quiet person” who was “well-liked” and said it felt like she had “lost a friend as well as a son”.
During the trial, Tom Godfrey, prosecuting, read statements from other men who were targeted by the pair in Reading, with one saying he had suffered “the worst depression in his life” after the attack.
Another said he no longer went out at night and had begun suffering sleep problems and anxiety after being threatened with a hunting knife before being robbed.
The court heard the teenagers had previous convictions for robberies and burglary.
Shidane admitted two counts of robbery and was found guilty of manslaughter at Reading Crown Court following a three-week trial.
Faysal denied the charges but was found guilty of three counts of robbery and manslaughter. He also admitted possession of a bladed article.
Faysal was sentenced to 15 years for manslaughter, as well as five years, three years and seven years for three robberies and 12 months for possession of a bladed article.
Shidane was sentenced to 12 years and six months for manslaughter and three-and-a-half years and four-and-half years for two robberies.
Both Faysal and Shidane's sentences will run concurrently.
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