Men who stole dying man's phone jailed

Judge labelled their actions 'callous and despicable' rejecting their defence that they were attempting to help

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The Independent Online

Two “callous and despicable” men who took a dying man’s only means of calling for help when they stole his phone have been jailed.

Scott Stephenson and Dale Walker saw their 22-year-old victim fall in South Shields, Tyneside, but instead of helping the man waited 30 minutes before returning to his slumped form and stealing his iPhone.

The man, whose name has not been released but worked as an engineer, later succumbed to hyperthermia in a back lane last December.

Stephenson, 19, who admitted theft after rifling through the prostate’s man pockets, was jailed for two years at a young offenders institute.

Walker, 25, was jailed for 10 months after admitting handling stolen goods.

In Newcastle Crown Court Judge Robin Mairs said: “I make it clear, I cannot and do not, because the law prohibits me, deal with either of you for being the cause or contributory cause of his death or that you were aware he would die.”

“However callous and despicable your behaviour was, in showing utter contempt and disregard rather than humanity for a young man, I cannot sentence you on that basis,” the Shields Gazette reported.

Judge Mairs continued that he hoped the sentences brought “a measure of comfort” to the victim’s family.

Additional reporting by Press Association