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Robbers who denied attacking regional journalist to face jail

Jamie HillA pair of thugs have been told to face jail after admitting a spate of attacks while denying a charge of robbing a former regional daily journalist.

Ewin Francis and Joshua Orchard denied robbing ex-Swindon Advertiser journalist Jamie Hill, who now edits local news magazine Swindon Link, after being charged over a series of robbery offences.

But the duo pleaded guilty to two counts of robbery, an attempted robbery and fraud by false representation in a hearing at Swindon Crown Court-  and prosecutors accepted their not guilty plea to the alleged attack on Jamie.

Jamie, pictured, claimed he had been hit over the head with a homemade cosh and stripped of his wallet as he walked home from a night out in June 2018.

Francis and Orchard, who are both 20, were said to have been part of a group that targeted men across Swindon on 3 June 2018.

According to the Advertiser, the court heard they were said to have taken from one man a bag containing a phone charger, jumper and Tommy Hilfiger wallet, while a second was allegedly robbed of his cigarettes, phone and wallet.

A third was stripped of his phone and the robbers used a bank card belonging to one of their victims to buy goods from a corner shop.

Colin Meeke, prosecuting, said the pleas were acceptable to the Crown Prosecution Service and both men were bailed to be sentenced on 20 February at the same court.

Judge Jason Taylor QC said: “You have pleaded guilty to serious offences and you should both expect a custodial sentence.”

Jamie told HTFP: “To be honest the entire affair fills with me sadness. I don’t take any pleasure from the sentencing of the two young boys who carried out these vicious attacks. It’s just a sad tale from start to finish. Sad for the victims and sad for the young lives who now face prison.

“It is depressing to think that these children had fallen through the cracks so much that it led them to carry out this series of violent attacks. The fact that they are the same age as my son brings it home even more just how terrible it is that these boys were out there in the middle of the night doing this.

“For myself, it happened so long ago now that it is near impossible to remember the physical and emotional pain that I went through at the time.

“I must say that the ambulance and hospital workers were fantastic and I would also like to praise the police investigation that has led to this sentencing.”