A crack cocaine addict recruited a homeless man to rob a drunk she had met in a pub, a court heard.
Emma Berry, 34, rifled through her victim’s pockets and stole his phone, cash and cigarettes after her accomplice had threatened to smash a bottle over his head.
But the drug-addicted mum was arrested nearby.
Now she has escaped a jail sentence after a court heard about her ‘unenviable start in life’, a string of abusive partners and addiction to crack cocaine.
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She sobbed as she was told she would be spared a jail term at Manchester Crown Court yesterday.
Prosecutor Brian Williams said the victim had met Berry at The Grapes in Eccles during the afternoon of New Year’s Day in 2020.
The victim estimated he had downed about eight pints when the pair left to go into Manchester city centre.
As the pair were walking toward Piccadilly Tavern, the victim recalled a man pushed him against a wall and then threatened him with a bottle before saying ‘this is going to go over your head’.
Berry then started to rifle through her victim’s pockets, taking his phone valued at about £100, £23 in cash and cigarettes.
Police officers were quickly on the scene and arrested Berry nearby – she had the phone, cash and cigarettes.
CCTV seized by the police showed Berry and her victim involved in ‘some kind of dispute’, according to the prosecutor.
The accomplice, who appeared to have been recruited by Berry, has been identified by police as a homeless man named Danny Taylor although he has not been located, the court was told.
When she was arrested, Berry said in her interview it had been Taylor, not her, who had pushed the victim against the wall and she denied going through his pockets.
The court heard Berry has a string of previous convictions including for assault and criminal damage.
Emma Berry outside court
(Image: Manchester Evening News)
Rachel White, defending, pointed out that in her police interview Berry had said she had felt ‘very sorry’ for her victim and would apologise to him if she could.
She said her client had had ‘an unenviable start in life’ and now suffered from mental health problems – she had been diagnosed with personality disorder and PTSD.
Berry had a number of children but all had been taken into care, Miss White told the court.
She was addicted to crack cocaine which Miss White said had stemmed from her ‘poor choice of partners who have been violent, abusive and exploitative’.
However, the court heard the defendant was now volunteering for a charity for the homeless and was getting help for her mental health problems.
Berry, of Manchester Old Road in Middleton, was sentenced to 16 months in prison suspended for 18 months after she admitted a single charge of robbery.
Manchester’s courts are some of the busiest in the country with a vast array of cases heard every week.
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She was also ordered to carry out 25 days of rehabilitation activity.
She sobbed in the dock as the judge, Miss Recorder Johnston, told her she had left her victim ‘humiliated and frightened’.
The judge said it appeared from the CCTV that there had been some sort of verbal altercation between Berry and her victim.
The court heard that Berry claimed he had owed her money.
“Whether that’s right or wrong it provides no excuse or mitigation for what then happened.
“Even if what you say is right and he did owe you money, it looks as though you have recruited somebody else to assist you in recovering that debt,” said the judge.
Berry had subjected her victim to a ‘protracted personal robbery’, she said.