I had the pleasure of meeting two great guys from Manchester, England this summer, did the Facebook friend request, and have chatted quite often. Weeks after meeting them, one day one of their Facebook posts talked about a hugger mugger. I was new to this term so I asked for clarification. Apparently quite common in Manchester's gay village, thieves would approach gay men, warm up to them, hug them, and while in the embrace the robbers would pick the semi or fully intoxicated gay men's pockets.
It never occurred to me that this was happening, maybe because no one hugs me, drunk or sober. LOL.
What is not a laughing matter is that one man in Manchester took the hugger mugger scenario to new levels.
An Oldham man who befriended five vulnerable homosexual men in Manchester's Gay Village before using chokeholds to render them unconscious and robbing them has been jailed.
Mason Shaw has been jailed for eight years and nine months after pleading guilty to six counts of robbery and one count of theft at Manchester Crown Court on Wednesday (23 August).
As a dangerous offender Shaw also had an extended sentence of four years and three months imposed on him and will only be released following a decision by the Parole Board.
The 21-year-old's photo had been circulated around the Gay Village area of Manchester after he targeted, often drunk and alone, men.
Shaw robbed five of his six victims in the popular night life destination isolating them from the crowd, before strangling them until they lost consciousness.
In one instance he even engaged in sexual activity with one victim before robbing him.
And after another robbery he left a man unconscious in the street who was lucky to survive after being struck by a car. – ibtimes.co.uk
At sentencing, Judge Tony Cross QC recapped the stalking behavior that Shaw exhibited when seeking out his victims. Cross highlighted the targeting of gay men in the village that were alone, slightly or heavily intoxicated, the gaining of trust that occurred or pretending to be interested in the men, while assessing the victims' vulnerability.
For more description of Mason's crimes, head over to ibtimes.co.uk
He was sentenced to serve an 8 year and nine month jail term and has been banned from the Gay Village for life.
Shaw has stated he robbed the men because he was addicted to gambling and needed to pay off debts.
The case was originally treated as a homophobic hate crime, but the court changed the ruling since the offenses were not committed based on the defendant's hostility against the victim's sexual orientation, but he targeted the men because they were vulnerable.