London News & Search
A mugger who was chased and caught by a cancer patient after snatching a £100,000 watch from a 17-year-old schoolgirl’s wrist has been jailed for more than two years.
Hamza Ziani, 26, and another man targeted Saudi Arabian-born student Haya Alraban as she got into a black cab after dinner with a friend in Sloane Street.
Haya was grabbed by Ziani’s accomplice as she tried to close the car door, and believing they were trying to steal her hand bag she tossed it on to the pavement.
However, the thieves were intent on stealing her Richard Mille watch, worth £100,000, which was wrestled from her wrist before the two men fled.
Isleworth crown court heard that a passerby, Mubarak Alhajeri, witnessed the mugging, at 9.45pm on April 10, and chased Ziani.
“He is a cancer patient, he intervened when he witnessed what was happening, and he ran and ran, not to know what he might be presented with,” said Judge Nicholas Wood. “That shows something very public spirited about Mr Alhajeri.”
Ziani, who is Algerian and had only been in the UK for about a month, was pursued through the streets by Mr Alhajeri, who eventually caught up with him outside Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge. “He saw the defendant crouching and catching his breath,” said prosecutor Alex Balancy, who added that Ziani then said in Arabic “it wasn’t me”.
The court heard the other thief, who ran off in the other direction, had pocketed the stolen watch, which has not been recovered.
Robert Dacre, defending, said Ziani was the father of a four-year-old son in Algeria and just wanted to get home to see him. He said Ziani only met his accomplice, who he claimed grabbed the watch, the day before the mugging and does not know how to contact him.
Jailing Ziani for 26 months, Judge Wood said: “It was a robbery of a personal item from a 17-year-old girl who had been out having a nice evening.”
Ziani, of no fixed address in the UK, pleaded guilty to robbery. He will be deported when released from jail.
London News & Search