Forensic evidence and quick arrest lead to jail term for Woking man
Forensic evidence and a quick arrest at the scene proved crucial in jailing a man who attempted to rob a handbag from a woman in Woking.
Carlos Santos was jailed for 3 years and 4 months following a hearing at Kingston Crown Court today (May 11). He pleaded guilty at the same court on March 23.
The incident happened on September 3, 2016 on 11.25pm when the victim was walking along Oriental Road in Woking. While walking back to her car she was on the phone to her mother and noticed Santos following her.
In order to get in her car quicker she got her keys out as she felt apprehensive being followed. As she approached her car Santos grabbed her arm and put his hand over her mouth, however his grip slipped and she was able to shout for help.
Santos, aged 36, tried to grab her bag but couldn’t take it from her and ran off towards the train station. A witness who heard her shouts came to help and comforted her as she called the police. Officers arrived and searched the area and found Santos near the station, based on the description given by the victim.
Santos, of no fixed abode, was directly linked to the crime as fibres from his and the victim’s clothes were found on each other’s. The forensic link was crucial as Santos provided a prepared statement in interview stating he wasn’t involved in the incident.
Investigating officer Detective Constable Carina Jewell said:
“Carlos Santos’ botched robbery terrified his victim that night, as well as her mother who she was on the phone to at the time and heard her screaming for help, without knowing what had happened. Fortunately the victim was able to keep her possessions and did not suffer any physical injury.
“We were able to attend the scene quickly enough to search the area and find Santos still near the scene and based on the detailed description given by the victim we arrested him.
“Throughout interview Santos denied his involvement, but our evidence became overwhelming once our specialist forensic team examined his and the victim’s clothing which clearly showed there had been contact in the way described by the victim.
“This was a real team effort from our response officers making a quick arrest and working with detectives, while also drawing on the specialist skills of our forensic team, to put a dangerous opportunist behind bars.”
In an impact statement, the victim said:
“When this happened it had such a negative impact on me. I constantly cried and thought I would never be able to go to Woking again. “It wasn’t that the man tried to take my bag, it was that he invaded my personal space and put his hands on me. He approached me from behind and put his hand over my mouth, I genuinely thought that this was it and remember just shouting for my mum who was on the phone and I know she was so scared.”