Wadham student attacked in spate of muggings

first_imgAn Oxford University student was attacked as part of a spate of violent robberies on and around the Iffley Road in the early hours of last Thursday morning. Four people have since been arrested and charged.Stephen Wadey, a second-year PPE student at Wadham College, was attacked near the Iffley Road Sports Complex as he walked back to his house at around 1am after visiting a friend in college.Wadey said, “I was walking along one side of the road and there was a group of around ten people on the other side. Two of them broke away and came up to me. They demanded my phone and pushed me over a low wall onto some grass. I fell on my back and then they pinned me down with their hands around my throat and then punched me several times in the face.”He described his attackers, saying, “One man was mixed-race, between 6′ and 6’1″ and with his face partly covered. The other was white, with short brown hair and was about 5’10”. They were acting really edgy: they were probably on some sort of drugs at the time.”He said that the men stole his mobile phone and demanded his wallet, but he managed to conceal the possession of money. “I told them I didn’t have any and they seemed to accept that”, he said. The men then ran off to rejoin the group with whom they had been walking and Wadey ran home to telephone the police.Wadey later learnt that his attack was the fifth to have taken place in the area that night. A 48-year-old man had his wallet and mobile phone taken by two men as he walked home along the Iffley Road at about midnight. Soon after this, two men were confronte and had money, mobile phones and bank cards taken from them. The fourth robbery took place just before that on Wadey, and involved a 22-year-old man who was made to hand over the cash in his wallet.Thames Valley Police arrested four people at 9.30am the next day in relation to the robberies, following an intensive all-night investigation. Jack Ulett-Titcombe, aged 20, of Herschel Crescent, Littlemore, and Michael Collins, also aged 20, of Iffley Road, Oxford, along with a 17-year-old girl and boy appeared at Oxford Magistrates’ Court on the morning of Saturday 6th June, charged with conspiracy to commit robbery. Ulett-Titcombe and Collins were remanded in custody, and the two 17-year-olds were released on bail. All four are due to appear again in Oxford Crown Court on Friday.The attacks were the latest in a series of violent crimes in the Iffley Road area of Oxford, raising questions about whether the University should be doing more to ensure the safety of those members who live out.According to the Oxford Safer Communities Partnership, incidences of similar crimes have risen dramatically over the last year. There was a 15.6% rise in robberies of individuals in April this year compared with April 2008. This is part of a wider trend, which has seen the rate of violent crime in Oxfordshire increase from 13 incidents per 1000 of the population in 2002/03 to 20 incidents per 1000 of the population in 2007/08.Wadey described the situation saying, “the crime in that area has gone up massively recently. There was the domestic double stabbing, and two of my friends had their bikes stolen. I think I probably got off lightly compared with some people.”He said that although he was not displaying any valuables when he was attacked, he nevertheless planned to be more careful in future.He added that the University had been “responsive to my needs”, and that Wadham had given him accommodation in college for the rest of this year, so that he would not have to continue to live near the scene of his attack. “They have been extremely understanding, and I’m very grateful.”Finally, when asked what outcome he would like to see from the trial, he said that the main goal should be the prevention of further incidents. “I am simply hoping that whatever the response, no one else has to suffer the same thing as me.”last_img read more