‘Despicable individual’ who robbed 84-year-old woman in Havering and Ilford crime spree jailed for 35 years

Dawson has been jailed for 35 years. Photo: Met Police

Dawson has been jailed for 35 years. Photo: Met Police - Credit: Met Police

A knife-wielding thug who carried out a string of violent knifepoint robberies targeting young women and an 84-year-old across Havering and Ilford, has been jailed for 35 years.

Ross Dawson, 32, of no fixed address, had pleaded guilty to all the offences at previous hearings at Snaresbrook Crown Court where he was jailed on Friday, March 22.

He was jailed for three robberies and one aggravated burglary.

The sentence included two charges brought against him by West Mercia Police for blackmailing other inmates while he spent time in custody.

The court heard how Dawson would use a knife to carry out his numerous offences.

Ross Dawson. Photo: Met Police

Ross Dawson. Photo: Met Police - Credit: Archant

At the time of the offences he was wanted on a recall to prison, having failed to comply with the conditions of this release.

The first offence happened on Tuesday, July 4, 2017.

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In the early hours a cab driver was asked to pick up a person from Romford.

The fare was Dawson and an unknown woman; Dawson got into the front seat and the woman got into the rear.

Whilst driving along St Mary’s Lane, Upminster, Dawson told the driver to stop the vehicle.

He said the woman was his wife and she was feeling sick due to pregnancy.

The driver stopped and Dawson produced a knife and demanded that the victim give him money, he then punched the man in the face. The victim told Dawson to take the money and he started to get out of the vehicle. Dawson then dragged him from the vehicle and he fell to the floor.

As he was helpless on the floor, Dawson held a knife to his throat and demanded the car key. However in the struggle the key was broken and when Dawson got in the car he could not start it. He and the woman left on foot.

Ross Dawson has been jailed for 35 years. Photo: Met Police

Ross Dawson has been jailed for 35 years. Photo: Met Police - Credit: Met Police

The next offence was on Saturday, July 15, 2017.

A 61-year-old minicab driver accepted a fare from a woman to go to Kingsbridge Circus, Harold Hill. When he arrived to pick her up, two men approached the car and one of them got in. This man was Dawson.

He asked to be taken to Crow Lane, Rush Green. The victim asked for payment first. Dawson told the driver he could have his phone as surety, but the victim declined.

At this point Dawson threatened the driver with a knife and demanded money.

Dashcam footage shows Dawson threatening a taxi driver. Photo: Met Police

Dashcam footage shows Dawson threatening a taxi driver. Photo: Met Police - Credit: Met Police

The driver handed over his wallet and Dawson demanded the chain around his neck, which was only his driver’s ID. Dawson then left the car not realising the robbery had been recorded on the driver’s dash-cam.

The victim later told police he was genuinely scared for his life throughout the incident.

On Saturday, July 22, 2017 an 84-year-old woman was in her car outside her home in Romford, when she was approached by Dawson.

He said his pregnant wife was not feeling well, asking for a lift to the hospital.

The woman agreed to help but en route to hospital, Dawson made the elderly woman stop on a secluded road and pushed her out of the car and sped off. The incident was recorded on the dash-cam of a member of the public who pulled up behind the car.

He left behind the woman, who turned out to be a 15-year-old girl. When police arrived she was arrested on suspicion of robbery and an eight inch kitchen knife was found in her handbag.

The last incident happened on Thursday, August, 3 2017. At around 7pm police were called to an address in Ilford.

A 30-year-old woman told police she had been held at knifepoint after answering the door.

She said the girl involved in the incident on July 22 was at the door. As she knew her, she left her in.

A short while later the victim heard this girl go downstairs to the front door.

The victim left her room and was confronted by Dawson and another white man who was referred to as John.

He then put a knife to her throat and demanded she tell them where the valuables were.

Dawson then went behind the victim and put his right arm over her right shoulder and put her in a headlock.

He started to squeeze her neck and the victim told police she thought she was going to die. She blacked out and fell to the floor.

When she regained consciousness, she realised they had gone and called 999 and then ran downstairs, screaming for help in the streets.

Dawson was identified and arrested on August 3, 2017 and subsequently charged with the above offences.

The 15-year-old, who cannot be named because of her age, pleaded guilty at youth court in October 2017, to possession of a pointed and bladed article.

Det Sgt Billy Baxter said: “This is a despicable individual and whose violent crimes is some of the worst I have ever investigated.

“His sentence clearly reflects the threat he was to the public and the fact he will not be even be eligible for parole until 20 years means his victims are afforded some peace of mind which will help them move on from such a harrowing experience.”