Leeds robber Rainbow Tay-La 'waited for the right person' to trick in vicious street attack

Robber Rainbow Tay-La
Robber Rainbow Tay-La -Credit:West Yorkshire Police

A violent and prolific Leeds robber known for targeting women has been locked up after they hit their victim's head against the wall as they tried to steal their phone.

Rainbow Tay-La, 40, pounced on the woman just before 4.45pm on September 20 last year as she walked through Leeds city centre.

Prosecutor Jennifer Gatland told Leeds Crown Court on Tuesday: "The victim got off a bus on Boar Lane and walked on Lower Basinghall Street. She had her phone in her pocket and her earphones in. She was speaking to her partner on the phone. The defendant approached and asked if she had any change and she said, 'No sorry.'

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"Then the defendant became aggressive and started shouting and screaming. The defendant shouted, 'You've got my phone.' She [the victim] backed away from the defendant who reached and grabbed her wrist and tried to grab her handbag over her shoulder. They had her backed up against the wall and was verbally aggressive as she tried to get help."

It was said the victim tried to shout for help, and four women went to her aid, with one calling the police. Ms Gatland said the defendant then grabbed the woman by her throat and "threw her against the wall."

The prosecutor added: "They reached into the handbag and threw her things on the floor. They then grabbed her head and threw it against the wall."

Lower Basinghall Street, Leeds
Lower Basinghall Street, Leeds -Credit:Google Maps

A man walking past also tried to intervene, the court heard, but Tay-La managed to spot the woman's phone in her pocket and ran away with it. A member of the public gave chase as the woman picked up her belongings. She later spotted Tay-La's blood on her jeans.

Ms Gatland said Tay-La, of Kings Hill Avenue, was interviewed on October 10. They admitted to police they were waiting in the street for the "right person" and "saw the victim and ran up to ask for help". Ms Gatland added: "The defendant said they told the victim they had a knife and to give them the mobile phone."

Tay-La went on to plead guilty to robbery. In a victim personal statement, the woman told how she suffers with anxiety going into the city centre and had to take time off work following the robbery.

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The court heard Tay-La had previous convictions for 51 offences, including two for robbery and possession of heroin and a blade in 2017, and two for robbery in 2011, one of which involved their mother as a victim.

Mitigating, Michael Devlin told the court Tay-La had suffered trauma in the past and lives with a personality disorder. He said a pre-sentence report and psychiatric report had been undertaken. Mr Devlin added: "The defendant indicated their guilty at the earliest opportunity.

"The previous offences they were sentenced for were of a more serious nature...On this occasion, there was not that element of that threatening directly with the weapon."

Mr Devlin said Tay-La had "fallen back on a coping mechanism and abuse of drugs". He added: "The report notes there is empathy. This defendant can show remorse."

His Honour Judge Khan KC jailed Tay-La for four years, and made them the subject of an extended licence period of three years. He said: "You have a history of targeting females for robbery. That is obviously a significant aggravating factor. I'm satisfied that you will continue to remain a risk to members of the public."

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