Serial laptop mugger faces slammer

Going offline for a very long time, says judge

A vicious mugger who hunted down businessmen carrying laptops was this week warned he faced years in prison. Neville Smicle, 23, left two of his five victims with fractured skulls, while almost severing the ear of another. Isleworth Crown Court heard on Tuesday how the man struck on three separate evenings in Ealing, Hammersmith and Richmond. His victims were all carrying laptops, Metro newspaper reported. Tim Perkins, a graphic designer, described how he was attacked whilst walking home in April. "A lad appeared beside me and very quickly asked me the time. I looked at my watch and I was hit in the face by something incredibly hard." Perkins said he was then hit twice more on the back of the head. Second victim Andrew Swinton suffered a similar attack just two hours later, where he was also hit on the head with a bottle. Another of the men, Vivek Soman, was attacked on his own doorstep, and suffered a fractured cheekbone. Smicle was found guilty on four counts of robbery and one count of causing GBH with intent to rob. The jury's verdict was unanimous, with Judge Sam Katkhuda warning Smicle: "It will be a very long sentence. People who walk the streets of our cities have to be protected. Ordinary people going about their business must be able to feel they can walk freely and safely." Smicle was remanded in custody until January 17. ®

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