A HAVE-A-GO-HERO has been hailed by an Oxford judge for catching a robber who targeted an elderly woman.

Shane Meers chased the robber before punching him and holding him while he was trying to escape.

Shane O’Keeffe snatched 70-year-old Pamela Woodcock’s handbag as she was walking along Burford High Street on September 17 last year.

In Oxford Crown Court Judge Gordon Risius said he would invite Mr Meers to court to receive a public commendation.

He handed O’Keeffe, of Kineton in Warwickshire, a two-year suspended sentence on Monday after he admitted robbery.

Addressing him, Judge Risius said: “It must have been a terrifying experience for her.”

He added: “The member of the public who caught you deserves to be highly commended for his public spirited actions.”

When O’Keeffe grabbed the handbag at about 8.30pm, Mrs Woodcock struggled with him and fell to the ground, grazing her hands and legs.

Shaken and upset, she walked to the nearby Mermaid pub, which is run by her daughter and where Mr Meers is a regular.

Hearing her story and description of O’Keeffe he went out and found him with Mrs Woodcock’s bag stuffed up his jumper.

Jane Brady, prosecuting, said: “The defendant tried to run away but Mr Meers pursued him and punched him once in the jaw, which seemed to stop him in his tracks.”

Gavin Holme, defending, said O’Keeffe had no previous convictions and was training to be a jockey, but had developed a gambling addiction.

He added that O’Keeffe said he committed the robbery on the spur of the moment in the hope of repaying a £40 debt.

O’Keeffe, 23, was also given a supervision requirement for 18 months, 200 hours of unpaid work, and a curfew for six months.

He was also ordered to pay £300 compensation to Mrs Woodcock.

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