Search

Pianist’s life passion stolen after gang break finger in violent Camden mugging

07:00 28 August 2014

Victim Susanne Suhonen, whose face we have blurred to protect her identity.

Victim Susanne Suhonen, whose face we have blurred to protect her identity.

Archant

A keen amateur pianist whose finger was broken in a violent robbery outside her home faces the prospect of never being able to play properly again, after one of her attackers was jailed for nine years.

Junior Cooper.Junior Cooper.

Susanne Suhonen, who describes playing piano as her “great passion in life”, was set upon by two men at around 11pm on November 26 last year after parking outside her home in Aberdare Gardens, South Hampstead, having returned from a piano lesson.

One of the men grabbed her neck while the other snatched her handbag, dragging her to the ground and breaking her finger in the process, before making off in a waiting vehicle with £3,000 worth of valuables inside the handbag.

On Tuesday, Junior Cooper, 35, of Bravington Road, Queen’s Park, was sentenced to nine years in prison for the attack and two other robberies in Westminster.

His accomplice Remy McLeod, 19, of no fixed abode, will be sentenced for his part in the robbery spree on September 8.

Former management consultant Mrs Suhonen, who has recently made a career move into recruitment, described her attackers as “disgraceful”.

She said: “The longer they’re away from the streets threatening innocent people, the better. They were cowards – two men jumping on a lonely woman – it’s disgraceful.

“They left my finger crooked and I’ll never be able to play piano the same way again, a great passion in my life. And I’ll always have the memory of what happened to me.

“I remember that day, those two individuals running towards me looking terrifying and them putting their hands over my mouth because I was screaming so loudly.

“They dragged me along the street so hard, it left holes in my trousers.”

Cooper, who was locked up in 2009 for a spate of robberies, was described in court as the leader of a gang of robbers who choked their victims in three violent attacks.

He drove the gang around in a stolen Audi, seeking out vulnerable women.

On November 15, the gang targeted a woman in Marylebone parking her car and then attempted to steal a handbag from another woman half an hour later in St John’s Wood.

Judge Michael Grieve said while sentencing Cooper: “Extreme planning was involved in all the robberies; women on their own likely to have valuable goods were targeted.”

Cooper, who has a history of crack cocaine abuse, was jailed for nine years after being found guilty in July of conspiracy to rob.

He was on licence at the time of the offences, and will serve the remaining three years of his 2009 sentence concurrently.

McLeod pleaded guilty to conspiracy to rob in July.

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

Devotees of the late pop star are asking the City of London for a commemorative bench in George Michael’s “favourite park” for his fans to pay tribute to him

A man was beaten to death with a shopping trolley handle during a row, between two groups of youths in Willesden, a court heard.

Theodore Johnson, 63, appeared at the Old Bailey this morning charged with murdering the 51-year-old last month.

Cllr Claire-Louise Leyland will join traders and members of the Camden Neighbourhood Policing team this Wednesday in the Belsize Kitchen.

16:30

An influential publisher and Samuel Pepys enthusiast who lived in Hampstead Garden Suburb for 50 years has died.

14:11

Homeless people in Camden are to be offered extra support as temperatures drop below zero.

11:41

A pair of schools have had their newly-opened buildings blessed by bishops.

Yesterday, 19:08

West Hampstead mum Nazanin Zaghari Ratcliffe has lost her appeal and had her five year sentence in an Iranian jail upheld by an Iranian court.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now