A robber has been jailed after targeting women in Havering and Ilford.

Dean Wade, 38, of Ethelburga Road in Harold Wood, was sentenced to five years and six months in jail at Snaresbrook Crown Court for one count of robbery, two counts of theft, two counts of dangerous driving, actual bodily harm, driving whilst disqualified and no insurance. 

An investigation was launched by officers from the Metropolitan Police’s East Area Command into linked incidents where women were reportedly assaulted, and their handbags snatched.

The first incident, police said, took place on July 22, 2023 when a 57-year-old woman was targeted in Marlborough Road, Romford.

These were followed by two separate incidents on July 27 involving a 35-year-old woman at Colchester Road in Harold Wood and a 41-year-old woman in Horns Road, which runs between Newbury Park and Barkingside.

Officers, the police said, spoke with all three victims during their probe who said they had been approached by Wade and assaulted until they let go of their handbags.

One woman’s elderly father was also injured when he tried to stop Wade from fleeing. He did not suffer serious injuries.

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Wade was tracked down by plain clothed officers from the Havering Joint Task Force Team on the night of July 27 when they conducted a manhunt in the Collier Row area looking for the suspect’s black Ford Focus car.

At around 10pm that night Wade was seen driving the car and police said he became immediately aggressive when officers stopped him.

Wade was arrested on suspicion of robbery and taken to an east London police station. The Ford Focus was found to have been displaying cloned number plates.

He was charged the next day with two counts of robbery, driving while disqualified and driving without insurance.

On Wednesday, February 21 this year additional offences of theft, actual bodily harm and dangerous driving were added to Wade’s charges. He pleaded guilty to all of these in the court.

He was sentenced on February 29.

The Met Police said they additionally collaborated with Essex Police while probing Wade’s movements and that led to officers identifying an additional vehicle that was used in the first offence.

Stolen property was recovered from this car further proving Wade’s involvement.

Det Con Adam Offord, of the Met’s East Area Command, called Wade’s offences “callous and cowardly” as he chose to target lone women and was prepared to assault them to steal their belongings.

He added: “Havering is safer now that he is behind bars.

“I would like to thank the victims who came forward to assist the investigation – each report helped us build a picture of the suspect, his movements and his vehicle.

“We fully understand the devastating effects of robbery for anyone unlucky enough experience it and I sincerely hope that everyone targeted by Wade has been able to recover and move forward – something Wade himself will not be doing for some considerable time.”

Victims of robbery are urged by the Met Police to report it by dialling 101 or online at www.met.police.uk. Anonymous information can be sent to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.