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Machete-wielding bikejacker who attacked pro cyclist in Richmond Park sentenced to 12 months

The teenager, who was 15 when he knocked Alexandar Richardson off his bike, dragging him along the road for 100 metres before threatening him with a machete, will serve just half of his sentence in prison

A teenager who committed a series of violent bikejackings in London in October 2021, including one in which he knocked then-Alpecin-Fenix pro Alexandar Richardson off his bike using a moped in Richmond Park, before dragging him along for 100 metres and threatening him with a machete, has been sentenced to 12 months, six of which will be spent on licence.

The bikejacker, who also carried out two further attacks before he was caught, was arrested after walking into a café where officers, working on the case and planning on how to locate him, were having breakfast.

Last month, he appeared at Croydon Youth Court, where he admitted two counts of moped-enabled robbery, one count of attempted robbery, and possession of criminal property.

At Wimbledon Youth Court yesterday, the 17-year-old, who was 15 at the time of the attacks, was sentenced to 12 months, including six months in prison and six months on licence.

> Professional cyclist robbed of bike by Richmond Park machete gang

In October 2021, we reported that pro cyclist Richardson, a medallist at last year’s British national road race championships, was on a training ride through Richmond Park when he was targeted by a gang of masked moped riders who rammed him off his bike, dragged him along at speed for 100 metres, then threatened him with a machete as they stole his prized custom Specialized S-Works.

Richardson, who told the road.cc Podcast that he wasn’t “shocked or completely surprised” by the terrifying ordeal, suffered injuries to his ribs, knees, arms, back, and head in the attack.

As the police investigated the bikejacking, two further violent robberies took place in the Richmond Park area the following Monday.

A cyclist in his 50s was able to escape after the attackers failed to hit him with their stolen mopeds, though moments later a second man was rammed off his bike, suffering injuries from his fall, and threatened with a machete.

A comprehensive CCTV trawl by the Metropolitan Police’s Operation Venice team led to the identification of a 15-year-old boy as the key suspect. Despite searching several addresses a week later, the police were unable to find him or the other attackers.

However, following the searches, as members of the investigating team discussed the case over breakfast, the suspect, as luck would have it, walked into the same café. He was promptly arrested, and was found to have a machete tucked down his trousers, a balaclava, and a large quantity of cash.

Clothing later found at properties linked to the suspect matched the descriptions provided by the victims, while his phone contained an image of Richardson’s stolen custom-built bike leaning against a wall near the park, taken just minutes after the attack.

Image of Alexandar Richardson’s stolen bike taken on mugger’s phone (credit: Met Police)

> What can be done about the latest spate of bikejackings?

At yesterday’s hearing, Detective Constable Ian Croxford, from Operation Venice, said: “The defendant carried out a number of terrifying offences with no regard for the safety of the victims or the injuries he could cause by ramming them off their bikes and dragging them along the road. It was only by good fortune that none of them were more seriously hurt.

“All of the victims have spoken of the effect these robberies have had on their lives. No-one should have to change the way they behave because of the violent actions of others and we are pleased that this defendant has now been prosecuted.”

Speaking after the sentencing, Richardson, who now rides for the UK-based Saint Piran team, described the lasting impact the attack has had on both him and his family.

Alexandar Richardson, 2021 British road race championships (Will Palmer/SWpix.com)

Richardson at the British road race championships in Lincoln, just ten days after the attack (Will Palmer/SWpix.com)

“This crime made me fear for my life; I thought I could be murdered at that moment and it continues to cause feelings of anxiety, stress, sleepless nights and a fear to my family’s safety to the point we have hired overnight security at our property on more than one occasion,” the 32-year-old said.

“I have a huge fear of riding my bike now on open roads in the UK as this could happen again at any time. My children have also been affected, they have had disturbed sleep and are traumatised by what they saw in the evening with my physical injuries.

“No one should have to feel this way. I wouldn’t want anyone to go through what I have.”

> Cyclist battered with metal bar by knife-wielding masked teenagers in brutal bikejacking

Since Richardson was targeted in Richmond Park, violent bikejackings have become a worryingly common occurrence across the UK.

Just last week, four teenagers were arrested after a 20-year-old cyclist was attacked and had his brand-new bike taken in a violent ambush in broad daylight in a park just north of Birmingham, leaving the rider with broken fingers and a badly swollen face.

Last month, a London cyclist was attacked and had his bike stolen by two masked men during an ambush on a popular cycle route, not far from the scene of previous similar bikejackings.

road.cc reader Ben was left bleeding “fairly profusely” after being struck in the nose during the attack, just months after another cyclist was threatened with a “foot-long knife” on the same South Bermondsey stretch of Cycleway 10, where graffiti warning cyclists of attacks had been previously daubed.

In February, a cyclist was knocked from his bicycle by masked men and threatened with a knife during an attack on his ride home from work through an East London park, while just before Christmas three masked men armed with machetes attacked a cyclist, stealing his bike and phone, and threatened a passer-by earlier on a busy riverside path in Bristol.

That attack came less than a month after a group of youths, believed to be aged between 12 and 16, attempted to rob a woman of her bike and handbag on a cycle path close to Filton Abbey Wood railway station, to the north of Bristol.

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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17 comments

Avatar
jaysa | 12 months ago
4 likes

So ... rammed him off his bike,
dragged along at speed for 100 metres,
threatened him with a machete
as they stole his bike
He suffered injuries to his ribs, knees, arms, back, and head
and 3 separate attacks

Just 6 months for all that - he'll be laughing and a hero to his mates
How do we get scum like this put away for years?

Avatar
peted76 | 12 months ago
3 likes

Next to the percieved apparent rise in bike jackings, that sentance offers naff all deterrent.

Wonderful, another example of the laws of this land, punishments given, and the crime rates having absolutley zero correlation... and if they can't correlate.. then surely the system is broken! 

Avatar
Robert Hardy | 12 months ago
6 likes

It seems to amply meet the definition of armed robbery. Difficult to describe a machete as anything other than an offensive weapon in the context, so it seems strange that it was not treated as such.

Avatar
cyclisto | 12 months ago
4 likes

So the only way to solve all crimes, is urge policemen's wives to let them starve at home.

Avatar
brooksby | 12 months ago
8 likes

The Police wrote:

No-one should have to change the way they behave because of the violent actions of others and we are pleased that this defendant has now been prosecuted.

Now, let's see them apply that principle to road violence  3

Avatar
Retablo2 | 12 months ago
1 like

Can the perp be sued in a civil case - as in the States? 

Avatar
Ride On replied to Retablo2 | 12 months ago
2 likes

Probably hasn't got anything worth sueing for.

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to Retablo2 | 12 months ago
3 likes

Retablo2 wrote:

Can the perp be sued in a civil case - as in the States? 

Quite rare over here when a crime has been found to be committed, victims are entitled to apply for compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority which is generally quicker and easier than trying to launch a lawsuit against the criminal who, as Ride On notes, probably won't have sufficient traceable assets to make it worthwhile.

Avatar
Awavey | 12 months ago
4 likes

so it doesnt seem like they prosecuted him for using a bladed weapon in these robberies then ? I thought using a knife, or machete, in a crime was an immediate go to jail for a year at least, do not pass go, do not collect £50

and they only caught him because he stumbled in on them having a breakfast meeting

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to Awavey | 12 months ago
4 likes

Awavey wrote:

so it doesnt seem like they prosecuted him for using a bladed weapon in these robberies then ? I thought using a knife, or machete, in a crime was an immediate go to jail for a year at least

Six months mandatory minimum for age 18+, four months aged 16-17 but discretion for non-custodial, not sure what it is for 15 year olds but obviously will be even lower.

Avatar
Awavey replied to Rendel Harris | 12 months ago
3 likes

I thought that was just for possessing a bladed weapon in public.

When you actually use that weapon as part of committing another crime, like robbery, which you could argue then makes it armed robbery, thats when the sentencing tips into the serious jail time territory.

plus it was more than one robbery, and it was clearly planned/targetted, rather than merely opportunist.

maybe the Cav burglars arent the best example to compare against as they broke into his home, but it was a planned, armed robbery with knives, and they got 12-15 years in jail.

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to Awavey | 12 months ago
0 likes

That's for threatening with a bladed weapon, I can't find an offence of robbery with a bladed weapon, seems they are treated as two separate offences even when combined - maybe someone with better legal knowledge can elucidate?

Looking at the above I'm guessing that he wasn't charged with knife offences as it was a gang who did the robbery and it wasn't him, or couldn't be proved to be him, who actually wielded the machete.

Avatar
Ride On replied to Awavey | 12 months ago
1 like

He was sentenced as a child because he was 15 when he committed the offence.

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Awavey replied to Ride On | 12 months ago
0 likes

He was sentenced for the crimes he was charged & convicted with. There appears to be a very important charge missing in that summary.

Avatar
brooksby replied to Awavey | 12 months ago
1 like

Awavey wrote:

so it doesnt seem like they prosecuted him for using a bladed weapon in these robberies then ?

I was more surprised to learn that there is a specific crime of "moped-enabled robbery"...

Avatar
Offwood | 12 months ago
8 likes

Too lenient.  

Avatar
Geoff Ingram replied to Offwood | 12 months ago
5 likes

Far too lenient

 

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