Three men who targeted cyclists on the Bristol to Bath Railway Path have been jailed for 30 months after pleading guilty to a spate of robberies. The men would grab or punch walkers and cyclists as they passed by before stealing their wallets and phones.
The Bristol Post reports that Guleed Mahad Ali, Ahmed Saed and Guled Osman Ali, all aged 20, were sentenced to 30 months in jail at Bristol Crown Court. The court heard the gang would form a triangle shape on the path and then attack people as they tried to pass by.
Bristol Crown Prosecutor Gregory Gordon said that in around four hours on one night in February, the gang robbed or attempted to rob four cyclists. Some were grabbed, while others were punched in the face. Two who got away managed to find a PCSO nearby and this resulted in the men’s arrests.
Gordon said that on another occasion, Osman repeatedly kicked a runner in the face in order to get her phone. She later identified Osman in a line up.
Another victim, cyclist Andrew Hazlewood, described being ‘circled’ by three men who threw him to the ground before taking his wallet and phone. The phone was subsequently found in the possession of Mahad.
Judge Alastair McGrigor said the men had operated as ‘a pack’.
"Each one of the defendants seems to indicate he was the sheep being led. It appears you were all endeavouring to lay the majority of the blame on others. I cannot separate your behaviour and you were all in together. It would be wrong to draw out a ring leader – you all acted as a pack.”
All three men pleaded guilty to two counts of robbery and three charges of assault with intent to rob, while Mahad also pleaded guilty to a third count of robbery.
Earlier this year, three men were arrested following a series of attacks on cyclists in the Walthamstow Marshes area. However, the incidents have continued. In June, the Waltham Forest Guardian reported how Paul Mullan had been confronted by a gang of youths as he cycled home on a canal towpath by the River Lea. He was kicked to the floor, suffering a broken leg, had his newly-repaired bike stolen and was forced to phone a taxi to take him to hospital. It is also believed that someone may have filmed the attack.