A LATE-NIGHT robber who strangled his vulnerable victim with his own bedsheet before making off with his money has been labelled a public danger and given a ten-year extended prison sentence. 

Paul Coles, 36, of Fairmont Lodge, Otley Road, Shipley, repeatedly shouted from the dock at Bradford Crown Court today and had to be told to be quiet by Judge Kirstie Watson. 

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Paul ColesPaul Coles (Image: West Yorkshire Police)

He was jailed for seven years with a three-year extended licence period. 

Judge Watson told him he will serve at least two-thirds of the custodial period behind bars. 

Coles pleaded guilty to robbing the man of £110 in cash after midnight on August 10 last year. 

A second charge of doing an act that affected his ability to breathe and constituted his battery was left on the file after the court heard that the case would be dealt with on the full facts. 

Lily Wildman, prosecuting, said the robbery victim was a middle-aged man living in Bradford. He had mental and physical vulnerability and was known to Coles who had once cleaned his windows. 

It was shortly after midnight when he answered a knock on his door to see Coles standing outside. He had a plastic flask and asked for water but the man refused to let him in because of the lateness of the hour. 

Coles then stuck his foot in the door to prevent it from closing and pushed his way into the kitchen, shouting: “I’m going to kill you. I’m going to take all your money.” 

The victim fell to the ground with Coles on top of him. He forced a bedsheet over his head and pulled it tightly round his neck. He was choking and struggling to catch his breath.  

He thought he was going to die, Miss Wildman said. 

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Bradford Crown CourtBradford Crown Court

Coles asked ‘Do you know who I am?’ and when the man said no, he became friendly ‘in the blink of an eye.’ 

He suggested they went into the lounge and seemed to know there was a tin of money in there. The victim was so shaken and distressed that he showed it to him. 

Coles stuck it under his jumper and then took a bag to put it in.  

He told the man he was ‘a desperate crackhead’ before making off with the tin. The police were called and Coles was identified from his prints on the flask he left behind. 

He was arrested and denied the robbery. He claimed he had never been to the address and said he had been ‘fitted up.’ 

In his two victim personal statements, the man spoke of the significant physical and emotional trauma he had suffered. He had throat pain, neck and back pain and disturbed sleep. He stayed in with the doors and windows locked. 

Coles had 28 previous convictions for 52 offences, including assaulting police officers. He had repeatedly breached a Criminal Behaviour Order. 

Ella Embleton said in mitigation that he had no robberies on his record. He didn’t take a weapon to the scene, the sheet was already there. 

Coles had taken positive steps in custody after struggling with his mental health. He had spiralling depression and ADHD. 

Judge Watson said the victim didn’t want Coles in his property but he pushed his way in and forced him backwards. 

He picked up a bedsheet left out to wash, forced it over his head and pulled it tightly, giving himself extra leverage by putting his knee into his neck. He then released the choke-hold and suddenly became friendly, asking where the money was. 

The victim felt forced to tell him where the £110 was kept and Coles made off with it. 

Judge Watson said he had used significant force with a weapon, although not the usual type. 

She said he had an unhappy and unstable background that had contributed to his offending, his drug use also being a factor. She understood that he would miss his children while serving the time in jail. 

A restraining order prevents him from contacting his victim for the next ten years.