A HOMELESS man who befriended a stranger before beating him and stealing cash and clothing has been jailed.

Scott Yates, of Scott Avenue, Gloucester, met his victim - Mr Clay, at an Abingdon park before the assault at his home in the town on July 12 where he punched him repeatedly before stealing cash and clothing.

The 37-year old who was homeless at the time claimed he acted out of 'self-defence' after Mr Clay had taken his belongings and he denied one count of robbery and another of inflicting actual bodily harm.

Dismissing his argument a jury of 10 women and two men convicted him of both counts after his trial came to an end at Oxford Crown Court on Friday.

During the trial the court heard that Yates had befriended his victim and visited Swindon on the day of the attack.

When Yates returned to his victim's Abingdon home and demanded his belongings be returned to him a fight ensued inside the property in which Mr Clay was punched at least ten times the court heard, as well as strangled.

He suffered a cut injury to his head and a quantity of cash as well as a T shirt and coat was stolen during the robbery.

The court heard that Yates had also carried out similar acts in which he had 'preyed' upon his victims and just one month previously he had stolen thousands of pounds of jewellery from a woman in Reading who he had befriended.

In mitigation as he was sentenced yesterday Richard Davies said that his client had only come to his victim's home to reclaim his personal belongings and added that due to being homeless at the time it was the only items he had.

Referring to his previous convictions he said: "It is a shameful past that he deeply regrets.

"He has made progress during his time on remand in prison. he is actively engaging with all of the prison services offered to him to make sure he doesn't continue with these spates of very regrettable incidents."

Sentencing Recorder Richard Prior said: "Your robbery of Mr Clay is not the worst kind of robbery that has come before these courts nonetheless I will make it absolutely clear that it was a very ugly and prolonged robbery.

"It has taken place against a great personal history of abusing the kindness and vulnerability of others."

Following the trial he was also sentenced for two separate incidents in the months before the robbery - a burglary of personal belongings at a garage in Reading and a theft of jewellery of sentimental value from a woman whom he had befriended.

Yates was jailed for a total of seven years, made up of six years and six months for the single count of robbery with no separate penalty for the assault, and a further six months for theft concurrent with one month for burglary, to run consecutive to the robbery.