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In the dock: Man who mugged 78-year-old woman outside Herne Hill Post Office

A man who left an elderly woman lying on the ground after he robbed her handbag in Herne Hill has pleaded guilty in court.

Pierre Garcia-Benitez had no option but to admit his guilt after he was identified from CCTV as the culprit behind the cowardly attack on the pensioner. 

In a premeditated crime, on Monday, April 26, Garcia-Benitez had followed his 78-year-old victim as she left the post office and the cash machine where she had withdrawn £200.

As she walked along Norwood Road, he grabbed her handbag – causing her to fall over as she tried to hold onto it – before running off. 

Passersby intervened; including one man who saw the attack from his vehicle and chased the suspect. 

As he fled the scene he threw the bag away, but the purse with £200 and family photos inside were never recovered.

Garcia-Benitez escaped that day but was arrested on Saturday, June  19, after a media appeal featuring in the News, a trawl of CCTV footage and door-to-door enquiries.

He was charged with one count of robbery and pleaded guilty at Inner London Crown Court on Monday, July 19. He will be sentenced in September. 

Police Constable Alex Earley, investigating officer, said: “The victim in this case was fortunately not seriously injured, but was left upset and shaken. 

“It is incomprehensible to me that someone could commit this crime against such a vulnerable and defenceless victim, leaving her to lie in the street.

“My team and I gathered a significant amount of evidence – so much so that Garcia-Benitez had no choice but to plead guilty.

“I hope this brings the victim a sense of justice and closure so she can start to move past what happened.”


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