Robber starts nine-year stretch for vicious mugging which led to John Lewis murder

Robber starts nine-year stretch for vicious mugging which led to John Lewis murder

Karl McDevitt, 36, was found guilty of taking part in a robbery with Jonathan Porritt, who is serving a life sentence for murder

A robber who took part in a vicious street mugging which then led to a knife murder at a Middlesbrough home has started a long prison sentence.

Karl McDevitt, 36, and Jonathan Porritt, 29, violently robbed a man leaving him covered in blood with a head wound and a broken bone in his hand.

Cyclist Andrew Smith, 36, was hit over the head with a bottle, dragged to the ground, kicked, punched and stamped on until he let go of his bike.

His pockets were searched and his specialised bike, his partner's phone and £60 cash stolen.

Two days later "Pozza" Porritt killed John Lewis, as Mr Lewis challenged him over that robbery of his family friend Mr Smith.

This happened at Porritt's flat on Crescent Road, Ayresome, Middlesbrough.

Jonathan Porritt, left, has been found guilty of murdering John Lewis
Jonathan Porritt, left, was found guilty of murdering John Lewis

During the confrontation Porritt angrily stabbed Mr Lewis, 32, through the heart and left him to bleed to death.

Porritt was jailed for life for the murder last November, alongside a sentence of seven-and-a-half years for the robbery, which he had admitted.

Mr Smith was "mooching about" looking in bin bags for anything of interest when he crossed paths with the robbers on May 12 last year.

Porritt and McDevitt approached him on the corner of Crescent Road and Harford Street.

McDevitt asked him for a light, and when he got one, Porritt hit him to the head with a bottle three or four times, Teesside Crown Court heard.

'Arrogant and horrible'

He said he felt blows to the head and was punched and kicked by Porritt.

"Arrogant and horrible" McDevitt dragged him to the ground, rifled through his pockets and told him to "f*** off".

As Mr Smith tried to keep hold of his bike Porritt stamped on his hand, causing a fracture.

Porritt jumped on the bike and rode off.

McDevitt said: "I've got your f***ing phone."

Mr Smith walked home covered in blood and later went to hospital.

He needed eight staples to head wounds including a large gash behind his ear.

Karl McDevitt

Robber wanted to 'score cocaine after all-nighter'

He needed an operation to insert plates into his heavily swollen right hand. A nasty cut to his finger became infected and needed stitches.

He picked out both of the muggers at an identification procedure.

McDevitt, of Ayresome, Middlesbrough, denied the robbery and stood trial this week.

McDevitt had been drinking with Porritt after an "all-nighter" where he took crack cocaine.

He said he went to an alley to "score some cocaine" and saw Porritt attacking Mr Smith, hitting him with a hammer.

He maintained he had nothing to do with it, took no part in it and tried to help Mr Smith get to his feet.

Blade put to man's throat in previous violent robbery

Karl McDevitt

The jury rejected his account and unanimously found him guilty of the robbery.

He had a previous conviction for another violent robbery in 2013 where children's personalised Easter eggs were stolen from a Teesside home.

The drunken robber was carrying a craft knife and had a bike chain wrapped around his hand as he grabbed a man in the home, pushed him against a wall, put the blade to his throat and threatened to kill him if he did not get his money out.

He rifled through the man’s pockets, took money and made him take off his socks to search them before leaving.

He was jailed for six years for the robbery in September 2013.

 

Chris Morrison, defending, asked for leniency for the latest offence, saying McDevitt had been remanded in custody since he was charged.

He said McDevitt had family members sticking by him while his partner had moved on.

"In prison he's found it difficult to obtain work, not due to any misbehaviour but because an association with Mr Porritt which has put something of a marker on his prison file," added Mr Morrison.

"The best thing he hopes for is to be decanted sooner rather than later to another prison where he can get a job."

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Joint attack

Judge Deborah Sherwin stressed there was nothing to suggest that McDevitt was involved in the murder of John Lewis.

But she said McDevitt took part in a "joint attack" on Mr Smith, though it was Mr Porritt who inflicted the violence causing nasty injury.

She jailed him for nine years.

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