robber who knocked a baby out of its pram onto the pavement to steal an £80,000 watch has been jailed for four years.
Amine Benchoula, 35, targeted the infant’s father as he walked back to a car with his wife and brother on St James’s Square in Mayfair.
As the man got ready to put his child into the vehicle, Benchoula ran up behind him, took hold of his arm and began pulling the Patek Philippe timepiece from the victim’s wrist.
In the process, Benchoula knocked the baby out of the pram and on to the ground, before fleeing on foot away from the scene with the stolen watch, heading in the direction of Waterloo Place and Pall Mall.
The father and child sustained minor injuries as a result of the incident at 4.40pm on Saturday, June 24.
The baby was taken to hospital as a precaution. Fortunately, neither suffered any serious injuries.
A CCTV image of Benchoula was circulated which led to him being spotted by officers from the Metropolitan Police’s Violence Suppression Unit on July 9 in Edgware Road where he was then arrested.
Unfortunately, the stolen Patek Philippe has not been recovered.
At Southwark Crown Court on Monday, Benchoula, of no fixed address, was sentenced having previously admitted robbery and an assault on the baby.
Detective Sergeant Daniel Northcott, who led the investigation, said: “This was a terrible robbery that would have had a detrimental impact on the victim and his family.
“The fact that Benchoula has shown no regard to the welfare of the victim’s baby while committing such a heinous act was of deep concern to me and my team, and we worked hard to ensure the hunt for the suspect was intensified.
“Through the hard work and dedication of the officers on my team, we were able to apprehend the suspect and charge him promptly.
“With the wealth of evidence against him, he had no choice but to plead guilty at court.”
Detective Chief Inspector Scott Ware, from the Central West unit, added: “The Met is putting more officers into local policing and focusing on issues that matter to Londoners.
“Robbery is a priority for our communities and we are taking proactive steps to identify harmful offenders and work with partners to prevent these offences from taking place.
“Across London officers are out day in, day out, conducting targeted patrols in robbery hotspots to identify, apprehend and deter potential offenders. We also have dedicated teams out on intelligence-led operations to target repeat offenders.”