St Albans man sentenced to jail despite ‘reformed character’

A KNIFE-wielding robber has been jailed after evading justice for seven years by going on the run in Mauritius.

Aadum Nozeer stood over a 16-year-old boy with a knife and demanded his mobile phone as part of a gang robbery in St Albans in March 2003.

Having returned to this country Nozeer, who was 17 at the time of the robbery, was arrested at the family home in Drakes Drive, St Albans, earlier this year and put on trial.

Nozeer, now aged 25, married to his pregnant wife and settled down with a good job, was found guilty of robbing Ben Clayton, at St Albans Crown Court in July.

On Tuesday he was sentenced to three years and 10 months imprisonment for robbery and failing to answer bail which prompted Mr Clayton’s mother in the public gallery to shout “yes”.

Claire Palmer, defending, asked the judge not to jail Nozeer who was addicted to drugs at the time of the offence and fled to Mauritius before his original trial in 2004 to rid himself of drugs.

After coming back clean four years later, Nozeer had married and worked himself up to a position of assistant manager.

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References from Nozeer’s father, the local gym and the president of the Islamic Centre were produced to attest to his good character.

Miss Palmer conceded: “There is no acknowledgement to the fact he committed robbery but they show his character and the way he behaves now.”

Asking for any prison sentence to be suspended, she added: “He has found himself as a man of religion. He is married and a father to be and has a good job, and is very sorry for the part he played in 2003.”

Sentencing Nozeer, Judge Stephen Gullick said: “You stood over a 16-year-old and robbed him of property.

“You had a knife, I am satisfied. Others had a car jack. It is aggravated by the fact your victim was young, it was at night and there were more than one of you involved. You chose to contest the matter and so I cannot give you any credit for a guilty plea or expression of remorse.”

Judge Gullick added: “Since the robbery your life has changed considerably and you are a respected member of the community but you were at large for a number of years. Time passed by and the victims had longer and longer to wait hoping that the matter would be resolved.

“You must understand, even after this period of time, those that commit offences of this seriousness and fail to attend their trial will face substantial periods of imprisonment.”