The Daily Telegraph

Teenager warned over Bonnie and Clyde act

Prolific criminal lands eight different police cautions without being charged with an offence

- By Martin Evans crime editor

A PROLIFIC teenage criminal has been warned he cannot continue acting like Bonnie and Clyde, just because the police keep issuing cautions.

Robert Ellis was repeatedly arrested by Northumbri­a Police for a range of offences including burglary.

But the 18-year-old had never actually been convicted of a criminal offence because rather than charge him, police officers had instead handed out eight separate cautions.

Appearing for sentencing after being convicted of stealing and writing off a powerful sports car, however, Newcastle Crown Court was told that the repeated “slaps on the wrist” had given Ellis the impression he could get away with serious offending with impunity.

Judge Amanda Rippon said the teenager had “more cautions than anyone has a right to” and that he would only get one more chance.

She said: “He has got away with a remarkable amount of serious crime before finding himself in the big boy’s court, jumping over the youth court.

“Just because the police have given him a number of cautions doesn’t mean he can go on like Bonnie and Clyde, committing offences until he is shot.”

The judge’s comment was a reference to the American couple Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, who went on a crime spree in the 1930s before being shot dead by police.

The crown court was told that Ellis had received eight cautions for offences including burglary, criminal damage, threatenin­g behaviour, shopliftin­g, attempted theft, theft from a motor vehicle and possessing cannabis.

He was finally convicted of an offence when he stole a car from outside the owner’s home and then crashed it into a set of traffic lights, writing it off.

Three people were seen running away from the vehicle and Ellis was identified from blood left on the steering wheel.

Judge Rippon told him: “I dread to think what that journey must have looked like if I could watch it.

“I dread to think what speed you got up to, with no driving licence and no insurance.

“The extraordin­ary ego of you, thinking you could drive such a powerful sports car, off your face, without consequenc­es.

“I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have had young men before me sobbing, not because they are going to prison but because they have killed their best friend or girlfriend or both of them or someone walking across the road.

“It was just chance that meant nobody died like that on that night.

“It’s chance your grandmothe­r is in court now rather than standing looking at your grave because driving on our public roads is a privilege, not a right.

“After crashing, you ran away, like the little boy you are.

“You deserve to go to prison. At least then the public would not have to worry about you on the roads.

“But I’m going to give you a chance. One chance. I’m only giving it to you because you are 18 and you have not been convicted of any offences, astonishin­gly, before.”

The judge told him that if he commits any further offences in the next two years or “dares to get behind the wheel of a car”, she would lock him up and send him to prison.

Ellis, of Longbenton, North Tyneside, pleaded guilty to aggravated taking of a vehicle without consent, criminal damage, failing to stop after an accident, having no insurance and no driving licence.

He was sentenced to 12 months in jail suspended for two years, with 100 hours of unpaid work, an alcohol abstinence monitoring requiremen­t – meaning that he has to wear a tag that will reveal if he has consumed drink – and he was banned from driving for 18 months.

Matthew Purves, mitigating, said that Ellis is now in employment, is not taking drugs or drinking alcohol and has moved away from the area where he was at the time.

The teenager is now living with his grandmothe­r.

A spokesman for Northumbri­a Police declined to comment.

 ?? ?? Robert Ellis has been repeatedly arrested for offences including burglary
Robert Ellis has been repeatedly arrested for offences including burglary

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