Two gang members jailed for violent knifepoint robbery in Hackney

Andre De Freitas

Andre De Freitas - Credit: Archant

Two men sentenced for violent knifepoint robbery on an unsuspecting victim in Hackney Central.

Rimell Arthur

Rimell Arthur - Credit: Archant

The 30-year old man had been with his friends on July 15 last year, and was making his way home through the Narroway, just off of Mare Street in Hackney Central at around 3am.

Andre De Freitas, 20, of Croydon, Surrey, approached him and robbed him at knife point of cash, an iPod and a Blackberry mobile phone.

Because De Freitas’ face was covered it was impossible to identify him via CCTV.

But a warrant for an unrelated matter executed at the home address of Rimmel Arthur, 19, who is currently serving four years imprisonment in a young offenders’ institute, led to the recovery of the robbery victim’s mobile phone.

A download of Rimell Arthur’s personal phone showed a Blackberry messaging conversation with another phone, which was identified as belonging to De Freitas.

The conversation clearly showed Arthur had directed De Freitas to commit the robbery.

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Det Insp Dan Brown, who heads Hackney’s serious acquisitive crime unit, said: “This is a classic case where Rimmel Arthur was encouraging this person to do a robbery to prove himself. De Freitas wasn’t sure of himself, but he was directing him around the area to find a victim.

“Gang related robberies tend to be of the more violent type, and they tend to be initiation for gang-like stuff, it’s like, “Prove yourself do a robbery, show me your worth of being in a gang.””

DC Edmund Bennett, added: “Arthur did not actually pull out the knife but he orchestrated this robbery.

“This violent robbery was pre-planned and they went out of their way to find a vulnerable victim to rob at knife point. “Without the excellent phone analysis work this conviction may never have been possible.”

On Thursday March 7 the pair pleaded guilty to robbery at Snaresbrook Crown Court.

Rimell Arthur has been sentenced to a further 30 months detention in a young offenders’ institute, while Andre De Freitas was sentenced to two years and eight months imprisonment, with a further six months activated through breach of a suspended sentence order.