Westminster: Baby assaulted in violent London watch robbery

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Amine Benchoula has been jailed after a baby was injured during a robbery in central London.

A baby was injured when it was knocked from a pram in a violent robbery in central London.

The infant suffered minor injuries, but Amine Benchoula, of no fixed abode, has been jailed for four years for the attack.

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The 35-year-old stole an £80,000 watch in the incident in St James’s Square on Saturday June 24.

At around 4.40pm, the victim was walking with his brother, his wife and their baby on the way back to their vehicle. As he got ready to put his baby into the vehicle, Benchoula ran up behind him, took hold of his wrist and grabbed at the £80,000 Patek Philippe watch.

In the process, Benchoula knocked the baby out of the pram and onto the pavement before fleeing with the stolen watch towards Waterloo Place and Pall Mall.

The man and the baby both sustained minor injuries. The baby was taken to hospital as a precaution.

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On Tuesday (September 18), at Southwark Crown Court, Benchoula was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment for the robbery and assault on the baby.

Amine Benchoula. (Photo by MPS)Amine Benchoula. (Photo by MPS)
Amine Benchoula. (Photo by MPS) | MPS

Detective Sergeant Daniel Northcott 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.”

The incident was caught on CCTV and an image of Benchoula was circulated, leading to him being spotted by officers from the Violence Suppression Unit on July 9 on Edgware Road where he was arrested.

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Benchoula was arrested on suspicion of robbery and on recall to prison. He was wearing the same distinctive tracksuit trousers, trainers and baseball cap that he wore when he carried out the robbery. The stolen watch has not been recovered.

Detective Chief Inspector Scott, from the Central West BCU, said: “The Met is putting more officers into local policing and focusing on issues that matter to Londoners. Robbery is a priority for our communities across Central West BCU 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.”

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