Robber who ripped necklaces from vulnerable women has jail term cut due to autism

By Marion Brennan | Walsall | Crime | Published:

A thug who targeted six vulnerable women in two hours in a series of violent jewellery robberies has had his sentence cut by a top judge due to his autism.

Joshua Bluck

One of the victims was a blind 68-year-old who was robbed of a necklace bought by her late husband as she sat in a veterinary practice. She suffered a heart attack and spent 36 hours in hospital after the ordeal.

Joshua Bluck and Cameron Ball were sentenced in February at Wolverhampton Crown Court by Judge Barry Berlin, who described their crimes as ‘utterly sickening’.

But now an Appeal Court judge has agreed to reduce Bluck’s sentence because of his medical condition.

Bluck drove a blue Audi A3, spotting the victims, while Ball carried out the robberies in Burntwood, Cannock, Lichfield and Walsall.

Joshua Bluck and Cameron Ball

The mugging spree on September 29, 2016, began when a 77-year-old woman had her necklace stolen while walking in Burntwood.

Shortly afterwards, in Lichfield, a necklace worth £420 was ripped from the neck of a 56-year-old.

The pair then targeted a 70-year-old woman and Ball pulled off her necklace that her husband had bought her before he died.


Later, in Salters Road, Walsall Wood, a 65-year-old had a necklace worth £200 ripped off her by Ball.

Afterwards, blind pensioner Elizabeth Smith was attacked at First Vets in Leighswood Road, Aldridge.

Blind pensioner Elizabeth Smith with her guide dog

Ball trapped her in a headlock before taking her necklace, a 40th birthday gift from her late husband.


In Barns Lane, Rushall, a 56-year-old was robbed of a necklace belonging to her late son.

Ball and Bluck were stopped by tpolice. Ball fled but was later arrested.

Ball, now 19, of Green Rock Lane, Walsall, admitted six counts of robbery. Bluck, 26, of Peolsford Road, Pelsall, was found guilty of the same charges.

WATCH: Victim describes having heart attack after robbery

Blind robbery victim Elizabeth Smith describes shocking ordeal

Mr Andrew Wilkins, defending Bluck, said ‘his mind does not work in the same way as others’.

Bluck was jailed for 12 years while Ball was handed a seven-year sentence in a Young Offenders Institution. Both were given a three-year extended licence period.

The two men appealed for cuts to their sentences, claiming they were too harshly punished.

Mr Justice Gossrejected Ball’s argument, concluding that he had played the leading role in the robberies.

But he cut Bluck’s jail term to 10 years, ruling that his history of autism ‘reduced his culpability’.

He overturned the finding that Bluck was dangerous and removed the three-year extended licence period.

Marion Brennan

By Marion Brennan

News and features reporter, specialising in human interest and local history stories.

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