A robber who attacked a man in broad daylight on his way home from Lancing Railway Station has been jailed.
The victim called out for help after the vicious attack but was ignored by members of the public, a court heard.
Aaron Lucas, 23, was jailed yesterday at Lewes Crown Court for the robbery, which happened in March last year.
Speaking at an earlier hearing prosecutor Charlotte Morrish outlined the case: “On March 13 Mr Hungwe arrived at Lancing train station about 1.30pm in the afternoon.
“He began walking home along Sompting Road. A male was walking quite close behind him.
“He felt intimidated so he decided to cross the road. The defendant followed him, crossing the road as well.”
Feeling uncomfortable, Mr Hungwe turned and faced the defendant, whom he knew through mutual friends.
The court heard that the pair began chatting as they walked together. Eventually Lucas suggested they take a ‘shortcut’ through an alleyway, and Mr Hungwe agreed.
The prosecutor said: “They got about three-quarters of the way down the alleyway when Mr Hungwe became aware that the defendant had stepped behind him.
“He felt a blow. The defendant had punched him hard to the right side of his jaw.”
Lucas demanded Mr Hungwe give him his phone, but he refused, the court heard. He then shoved Mr Hungwe to the ground and demanded his phone again.
Lucas threatened to stab him, the court heard, and Mr Hungwe began to crawl away.
By this time Mr Hungwe’s phone had fallen out of his pocket, and Lucas picked it up. He tried to stop Lucas from getting away.
Miss Morrish continued: “The defendant then pushed his thumb into his right eye socket and Mr Hungwe described feeling he was gouging at his eye.”
Eventually the defendant walked off, and Mr Hungwe was left shouting to members of the public for help.
However it was some time before someone eventually lent him a phone to call the police, the court heard.
Miss Morrish told the court how court proceedings commenced and Lucas and others sent intimidating messages to Mr Hungwe to try and get him to drop the case.
In his statement, Mr Hungwe said: “Even being locked in prison has not stopped him from reaching out and disrupting my life.”
Judge Christine Laing QC adjourned the case until yesterday so that experts can assess how dangerous Lucas is to the public.
Lucas appeared in court yesterday before the same judge and was jailed for five years.
In addition he will spend four years on extended license upon his release.