Posted on Friday 14 May 2021
JAILED: Paul Knox
A man who robbed a woman of her phone in broad daylight was tracked down after officers recognised a pair of curtains in the background of a screenshot taken of him.
The woman had been talking to her family in the Philippines by videocall as she walked down the street in Chester-le-Street town centre when she was pushed to the ground from behind by Paul Knox.
The 34-year-old, of Stanley, stuffed the phone in his pocket as he ran off - but unbeknown to him the call was still live.
Concerned for the welfare of their relative and aware that the phone had been stolen, they quickly realised that despite being on the other side of the world they could help.
The family waited until the Knox pulled the phone out of his pocket and took screenshots.
They then sent these to the husband of the victim, who was giving a statement to officers at the time.
These images were circulated to several officers, a number of which were in the process of gathering CCTV and witness statements.
It was at this point an officer recognised the curtains hanging in the background of one of the images having been at the property earlier that day.
Knox was subsequently arrested and at Peterlee Magistrates’ Court last month, he pleaded guilty to robbery and assaulting an emergency worker.
He was this afternoon sentenced at Durham Crown Court to 18 months in prison.
Detective Inspector Chris Woollett, of Durham Constabulary, said: “Imagine being thousands of miles away and witnessing a member of your family being robbed in the street.
“It must have been a horrific experience, but they remained incredibly calm, raised the alarm and ultimately played a significant role in helping to solve this case.
“Our officers worked extremely quickly, and it was their knowledge and determination, together with that vital help from her family, that ensured this man was caught.
“The victim was extremely shaken by what happened but hopefully she can take some comfort in knowing that he has been punished for his actions.”