Violent robber who battered frail woman wins sentence appeal


A serial criminal who battered and robbed a frail woman in her home has won his appeal against being jailed indeterminately.

Although senior judges described Edward Cambridge as a “bully” who targets vulnerable victims, they overturned the decision to impose “a sentence of last resort”.

Setting aside the five-year indeterminate term, they instead ordered him to serve 10 years with an extra three years on licence.

It means Cambridge, 23, will only be eligible for release after serving five years in prison if the Parole Commissioners are satisfied he does not pose a significant risk of serious harm to the public.

Lord Justice Gillen said: “There is an air of gathering momentum about this violent offending.”

Cambridge’s latest victim, a 58-year-old woman who suffered from spinal problems, arthritis and asthma, was attacked in June 2013.

He broke into her apartment at sheltered accommodation in north Belfast, demanded money and her bank account details before launching the attack.

The Court of Appeal heard Cambridge repeatedly punched her about the head, saying: “Do you know who I am? I’m Gary Wade from Mount Vernon. Where is your money? I’m going to kill you.”

He fled taking the woman’s mobile phone and a few loose coins.

Cambridge was later arrested on north Belfast’s Shore Road carrying a belt.

His victim sustained two black eyes, severe facial swelling and welts to her thigh, apparently from being hit by a strap.

She also had to undergo a brain scan and has suffered post-traumatic stress disorder.

Cambridge, formerly of Green End in Newtownabbey, later pleaded guilty to robbery and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Further counts of burglary and threats to kill, which he denied, were left on the books.

His 27 previous convictions stretch back to criminal damage and assault he carried out at the age of 12.

Cambridge’s record includes thefts, burglaries and an aggravated assault on a female or boy aged under 14.

He carried out the robbery while on probation for a sexual assault on a 12-year-old girl.

Sentencing him at Belfast Crown Court last June, the judge concluded that he does pose a risk of inflicting serious harm on members of the public.

Lord Justice Gillen rejected Cambridge’s appeal against this finding, describing it as “flawless”.

The judge decided, however, that while the robbery and assault were serious they did not merit an indeterminate sentence.