A "CONFIDENT, well-spoken" mugger who snatched the handbag of a High Court judge's wife was jailed for two years yesterday.
Roger Selman approached Judy Penry-Davey to ask for directions and chatted with her before grabbing her bag as she walked to her home in Dulwich, south London.
Lady Penry-Davey, 56, a retired teacher and mother of three, put up a furious struggle, being pulled across a parked car as she held on to the strap. Her shouts of "you bastard" alerted neighbours.
Selman, 32, of Kennington, south London, escaped with the bag in a car, but a witness made a note of the number plate and police arrested him.
Lady Penry-Davey's credit and debit cards, and £35 were not recovered.
Sentencing Selman, a father of one, who pleaded guilty in Inner London Crown Court to a charge of robbery, Judge Colin Smith, QC, said that the attack was "very frightening" and had "involved a certain amount of premeditation".
The judge said: "Your unfortunate victim put up a struggle but because of your persistence it was ripped from her.
"This was a very nasty incident and the public, women in particular, must be protected from offences such as this, which are all too prevalent."
Lady Penry-Davey, who was in court accompanied by her husband, Sir David Penry-Davey, said she was "very grateful" to the police.
She said: "I am very sad that a chap with such obvious abilities should be doing what he was doing.
"When he started talking to me, he struck me as being quite a confident, well-spoken young man who could easily have held down a job. It seems such a waste that he turned to crime instead."
Lady Penry-Davey said that since the incident in March she was "more wary" when she went out at night.
She said: "You have to keep going and we all have to walk the streets, but I look over my shoulder more, I keep less in my bag, and I wear it across my body rather than simply over my shoulder.
"I am sure that if I were attacked again I would react in the same way. One is just so outraged that someone to whom you have tried to be civil and helpful would turn on you like that.
"But I never felt he was going to be violent. He was just very determined to take my bag and I was very, very angry.
"I knew that if I shouted loudly some of my neighbours would come to help. It is a crime which is happening more and more."
Selman has convictions for wounding, handling stolen goods, theft and assault stretching back to 1986.
James McCrindell, defending, said his client was "very remorseful" and had written a letter to his victim apologising for what had happened. Unfortunately it had never arrived.