Crimewave of a single man who committed 186 offenses behind bars after robbing a tourist on his first visit to town


A career criminal once branded the ‘scourge’ of Manchester has been jailed after beating and robbing a tourist just hours after arriving in the city.

Drug addict Michael Conway-Williams, 43, was convicted of 186 crimes in his 20 years of offenses and has been in jail so much so that a judge once called him ‘the poster of the revolving door prisoner”. He has now been locked up again after he broke his London victim’s nose on his way back to his hotel after a night out with friends.

He was targeted for his Reiss shoulder bag with wallet, iPhone X1, £175 cash and other personal items worth a total of £1,400. As well as being bloodied and bruised, he was so terrified in the aftermath of the attack that he is afraid to go out and has refused to set foot in Manchester again.

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Conway-Williams, from Crumpsall, north Manchester, was later arrested but then robbed a tea shop just a fortnight after receiving a ten-week suspended prison sentence for stealing clothes from a car. At Manchester Crown Court on Thursday, Conway-Williams, of no fixed address, was jailed for another three and a half years after admitting theft and burglary.

Police will now apply for a criminal behavior order which should ban him from his usual haunts and restrict his movements after his release. Conway-Williams had been using drugs since he was 13 and first came to public attention in 2004 when he and his then-wife Shirley were each jailed for three years after targeting elderly women in 41 separate ‘distracted theft’ attacks at races in Manchester. .

Michael Conway-Williams in 2013

He made the victims talk by asking for directions or pretending to be sick while she took purses out of their bags. Later in 2010, Conway-Williams received a five-year ASBO after tricking fellow bus and streetcar passengers into giving him money with a series of bad luck stories about stranded and begging family or friends. travelers to have money.

Then in 2013 he was jailed for two years for three burglaries at business premises and a hotel just days after being released from another prison for similar offences.

In November 2018, Conway-Williams branded Manchester city center businesses a ‘scourge’ after he was sent back to jail for two years and nine months after stealing a pilot’s luggage from a hotel room in three other burglaries.

A 2004 police photo of Conway-Williams

He was released early from that jail term but then stole more than £2,000 worth of valuables from an abandoned office in central Manchester in broad daylight. In May 2020 he was given a suspended sentence but was again jailed for 18 months just three months after he was caught raiding a cafe.

He has previously claimed that he struggled to find accommodation each time he was released from prison and that he would commit a crime to be able to feed and house himself in prison.

The visitor’s robbery from London happened on June 26 last year after the victim left The Thompsons Arms pub in Manchester at 12.30pm to return to his room at the Premier Inn.

Prosecuting Denise Fitzpatrick said: ‘He was followed by Conway-Willliams and others around a corner before a woman approached (the victim) and extended her hand towards his pocket.

“He seemed to be oblivious to this and walked away while arguing with the woman and moments later he put his bag between him and the glass door of an apartment hotel.

Conway-Williams then appeared and punched (the victim) in the face twice, then lunged at him again as they struggled for his bag. (The victim) was seen bleeding and his bag was taken away from him.”

Conway-Williams, pictured in 2010, has been branded a ‘scourge’ of Manchester city center

The victim’s bank cards were then used in two contactless transactions worth around £30 at a Spar store and then a Tesco store. He suffered from a badly swollen and bruised face and a cut on the top of his nose. He remembers little of the attack.

In a statement to police, he said: ”Even though I had physical injuries, it’s the psychological damage that will take time to heal. I don’t remember what happened and I was always afraid to go out.

“‘I’m scared when I leave the house. I can’t walk the streets if someone is behind me and my fear is all over the place. Some nights I wake up sweating. I don’t know if I’ll feel a safe day to go out again.This was my first visit to Manchester and I never plan to return.

Stuart Duke, representing Conway-Williams, said: ”It doesn’t paint Manchester in a good light when a visitor to this city has their nose robbed and broken within 24 hours of arriving.

“It is understandable that he is now anxious and Mr Conway-Williams appreciates that he will receive a significant custodial sentence as a result. He expresses remorse and wants to use his time in prison productively to fight his drug addiction.”

Sentencing Conway-Williams Judge Maurice Greene told him: ”You have a record of dishonesty which makes very dark reading. (Your victim) was exploited by you and others and he was surrounded while you punched him twice in the face and struggled with him before taking his bag. He is now afraid to go out and worried about people following him and it is clear that this has had an effect on him.

Another man, Daniel Shaw, 35, from Harphurhey, Manchester, admitted to fraudulently using the victim’s bank cards and was given a two-year community order with a nine-month drug treatment programme.

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