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Last Updated: Monday, 26 July, 2004, 17:36 GMT 18:36 UK
Trains mugger gang found guilty
Five men accused of being part of a gang which carried out violent robberies on late-night commuters have been found guilty.

Michael Onward, 21, from Ilford, and four youths aged 16 to 17, were convicted of conspiracy to rob charges, at Middlesex Guildhall Crown Court.

They belonged to a gang which attacked people on the Tube, buses and trains, from Romford to Hackney in east London.

The five were remanded in custody until sentencing on a date to be set.

Those involved in these robberies were not really in it for the property they could steal, but thrill seekers
Det Con Gary Wilderman
British Transport Police
The gang, which was often 20-strong, was responsible for 12 robberies over two-weeks in September last year.

The attacks by the gang, known as the "Lords of Stratford crew", were violent despite the thieves only getting away cigarettes, small change and mobile phones from their victims.

Four people in one carriage were left badly injured after they were punched, kicked and stamped on while travelling on a Romford to Seven Kings train on 15 September.

Eight days later a young woman in her early 20s was targeted on another train.

She was held in a headlock, punched and subjected to a "serious sexual assault" before being punched again and having her valuables taken.

'Horrendous attacks'

On 1 October about 20 members of the gang took to the top deck of an N25 bus on Whitechapel and robbed and seriously assaulted four passengers.

One victim, builder John Tovey, has left London and given up work since the attack.

He is still unable to go out alone at night and cannot see properly.

Det Con Gary Wilderman, of the British Transport Police, said outside the court: "Those involved in these robberies were not really in it for the property they could steal, but thrill seekers whose love of violence was fuelled by street gang culture and the need to be seen as hard and up front.

"These were horrendous attacks on innocent members of the public on what should have been safe transport systems free of violence and intimidation."




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