A 17-year-old was punched, headbutted, elbowed, kicked and stripped to his boxers during a robbery on a train travelling between Truro and Redruth. The defenceless victim also had his clothes and valuables taken from him by Jay Cunningham, 23, and Samuel Dow, 29.
Cunningham, from Crantock, and Dow, now of Chepstow, appeared at Truro Crown Court for sentence after pleading guilty to the robbery in October 2020. Prosecuting the case, Ed Bailey described how the victim boarded the train at Truro when he was set upon by Dow and Cunningham who followed him onboard. He was stripped to his boxers and forced to hand over his clothes, wallet, rucksack, earphones and other items.
Chilling CCTV played to the court showed Cunningham and Dow taking it in turns to land punches, elbows and headbutts to the victim’s face and head. In just the first minute of the journey there were half a dozen punches as the victim can be seen cowering away in the corner of the area between the carriages.
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The blows continued until the victim was kicked out, half naked, onto the platform in Redruth. Mr Bailey described how some of the victim’s belongings were placed in the bin. During the horrific ordeal the defendants can be seen laughing at the victim and at some point they made a remark to other passengers about the victim’s behaviour to Dow’s sister and “teaching him a lesson”.
When police searched Cunningham’s room at the YMCA they found some of the victim’s belongings as well as a machete and nun-chucks. Both Cunningham and Dow have numerous previous convictions including for violence.
Representing Dow, Katie Churcher painted a picture of substance misuse and failure to deal with bereavement. She added: “Since 2020 he hasn’t been before the courts and has moved out of the area and has a new partner.”
Piers Norsworthy, for Cunningham, said: “He is ashamed of himself and expresses his remorse. His life at the time was completely different to now. He was homeless from the age of 15 and found solace in drink and drinking with homeless people on the street. He has been an alcoholic for many years but is now back living with his mother and grandmother. He has a relationship with his partner and their first child was born in March. He is no longer dependant on alcohol and has stability with his partner.”
Sentencing, Judge Simon Carr said: “The victim was a 17-year-old student. He boarded a train and you two followed him then aged 21 and 27. What followed was appalling behaviour. It is clear he was of much slighter build and you pushed him into a corner and punched and headbutted him repeatedly. You were seen to be enjoying what you were doing and challenging each other.
“You elbowed him in the face and decided further humiliation was required so got a 17-year-old to strip to his boxers. It was a protracted and prolonged assault on someone who couldn’t protect himself. You were getting pleasure from what you were doing and there is clear terror in his eyes.”
Judge Carr noted both victim’s mitigation and progress since the incident but said only a jail term was appropriate. Cunningham was jailed for four years and Dow, who was subject to a community order at the time, to four and a half years.