'Handbags vital for women to feel secure'

Handbag

A female judge in Britain has come to the defense of the women's humble handbag, after a barrister suggested that having one stolen was merely a crime of "inconvenience."

Dismissing the lawyers' claims, Her Honour Judge Zoe Smith, said that the victim was often left suffering from stress, anxiety and fear, adding that the crime should not be trivialised.

Her comments came during a hearing at Reading Crown Court, where a 34-year-old man had pleaded guilty to repeatedly stealing handbags of women.

In June, former drug addict, Kamran Latif had admitted a string of thefts, including that of two handbags.

But Latif also asked for 38 other offences to be taken into account, after the court heard how he had stolen again on the same day of his guilty plea.

However, when his defence barrister Edward Culver, argued for leniency, suggesting that the crimes had been ones of inconvenience, Smith was not amused.

"It's not just inconvenience, it causes fear as well," the Telegraph quoted her as saying.

She explained that there were a number of potentially serious consequences especially when a girl had her bag stolen during a night out.

"Her phone is taken, her cards, her money to get a cab is taken, her keys to the door of her house," she said.

"Then there is the fear of anyone coming to break into the house.

"It's a terrible thing to do and girls are left stranded on their own," she added.

Illustrating the point one of Latif's victims, Hannah Williams, provided the court with a statement setting out the difficulties she had endured after her handbag was stolen by him.

She explained that losing her phone had "caused her great upset" and expense, as she had been forced to continue paying the contract even though the phone had gone.

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