Violent girl gang jailed

Jessica Peace
Jessica Peace

A VICIOUS teenage girl who robbed a pensioner at knifepoint in his own home and carried out a horrific street attack on a terrified schoolboy has been put behind bars.

Notorious Jessica Peace, 19, forced her way into the bungalow of vulnerable 71-year-old Frank Arnold before robbing him and, just months later, stole a 15-year-old boy’s mobile phone after repeatedly headbutting him in the face.

Janine Pritchard

Janine Pritchard

The thug was joined in the Liverpool Crown Court dock to receive her fate last Friday (July 15) by accomplices Nicola Davies, 21, and Janine Pritchard, 19, who were each involved in one robbery each.

But Peace, of Central Street, St Helens, was singled out by Judge Bryn Holloway as the brutal ringleader.

Robert Jones, prosecuting, told how, at about 11.30pm on September 20 last year, Mr Arnold, who lives alone, had just gone to bed in his sheltered accommodation bungalow when he heard banging on his front door.

When he answered, he was confronted by Peace and Davies - who had been drinking vodka all day and forced their way inside.

Nicola Davies

Nicola Davies

The duo frogmarched Mr Arnold into his bedroom and drunkenly rummaged through his pockets, shouting “give us your money”, before Peace grabbed him by the arm and a struggle ensued.

After leaving Mr Arnold alone in the bedroom with Davies, Peace then returned brandishing a knife from the terrified pensioner’s kitchen.

The offenders, both convicted by a jury following a trial, made off with cash after the victim managed to pull a Careline emergency cord at the side of his bed.

Police quickly arrested both suspects and neither Peace nor Davies made any comment in interview.

Mr Arnold, who identified both defendants from a police line-up, subsequently told how it took several months before he started to feel safe in his own home again.

Then, in the early hours of January 14 this year, Peace, accompanied by Pritchard, robbed a 15-year-old St Helens schoolboy - while still on bail for the previous offence.

Shortly before midnight, the victim started walking home with a pal after receiving a call from his mum.

As they turned from Peckers Hill Road in Sutton onto Ellamsbridge Road he spotted two figures approaching from a side street and instantly recognised one as Jessica Peace.

Peace asked him for the time before grabbing hold of his neck warmer and trying to pull him to the ground.

Peace and Pritchard then threatened to “batter” the young victim’s friend before Peace pinned the 15-year-old against a church wall and headbutted him three times to the face.

Both defendants then dragged him to the ground before kicking and stamping at his head.

During the assault, Peace rifled through the youngster’s pockets shouting “what have you got?” before stealing his Blackberry mobile phone.

The victim, whose face was left bleeding heavily, was hospitalised after seeking help in a local pub.

Police arrested both defendants that night after kicking down the door of Peace’s home following a report that she was already trying to sell the Blackberry on.

Officers found Pritchard, who turned 19 that day, in the front room and Peace hiding under furniture - before recovering the victim’s mobile phone.

Again, Peace made no comment in interview, and Pritchard said little more. Both later pleaded guilty to the robbery - but only after a trial date had been set.

In a victim impact statement the schoolboy told how he had since suffered from anxiety and panic attacks, which had started to impact on his school work.

Despite admitting that his client had “a terrible record” Steven Swift, defending Peace, argued she warranted credit for her guilty plea to the second robbery and said her abuse of alcohol was central to her violent offending.

Peace’s mother claimed that her daughter had recently been diagnosed with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Rob Haygarth, representing Davies, said his client was in “a vulnerable situation” at the time of the robbery of Mr Arnold after drinking too much booze and said that, prior to this offence, she had not been in court since 2007.

Nicholas Walker, defending Pritchard, asked the judge to credit his client for her guilty plea and claimed there was evidence that she had “finally grown up”.

He also argued that there was little planning involved in the second robbery and that she wasn’t the principal offender.

Jailing Peace for six years, Judge Bryn Holloway said: “It’s clear that you were running wild. You picked on two vulnerable people and had a malign influence on the people around you.

“You have a reputation as a violent bully, which you seem to take pleasure in and have as extensive a record for someone of your age as I have seen for a very long time.”

Judge Holloway also jailed Davies, of Simonstone Grove, Sutton, for three years and Pritchard, of Peckers Hill Road, Sutton, for 27 months.