A WOMAN fell to the ground in an 'incredibly scary' robbery in Oxford High Street.

Jack Murphy was sentenced at Oxford Crown Court yesterday after stealing Katrine Spilling's purse on December 8.

The 29-year-old, of Luther Street in Oxford, was chased by passers-by after knocking her to the ground.

Prosecuting, Cathy Olliver said Ms Spilling had just left the gym and, as she crossed towards King Edward Street, she felt a 'strong pull' on her bag.

The barrister added: "A tug of war took place and she fell hard to the ground.

"Mr Murphy was leaning over her to get her wallet and pushed her down again on the floor."

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Murphy took it and run off, and was chased by passers-by.

Two people recovered the wallet but it was empty by then, the court heard.

One of the cards inside had been used to buy alcohol from Sainsbury's and from a shop on Cowley Road.

In a statement read to the court, the victim said: "It was incredibly scary for me - I'm in shock.

"I woke up in the middle of the night crying and shaking, like it was playing on a loop in my mind.

"I feel like I'm not functioning - this has disrupted my life."

Murphy chose to represent himself in court, appearing via video link from HMP Bullingdon near Bicester.

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He said he had been using crack cocaine and heroin at the time and was also suffering from various ongoing mental health problems.

He added: "I'm facing a big sentence and it's scary - it's a serious offence and it's a matter of custody, I understand.

"I was diagnosed with depression when I was 12 and I have a history of mental illness and drug abuse.

"I'm not aware of my surroundings or what I'm doing when I'm at my worst."

He said he had tried to hang himself in 2010 and was concerned that his mental health would get worse in prison.

At one point he challenged the court, saying he had been presented with 'no evidence' of his involvement and that 'this case is slightly botched in a way'.

Judge Nigel Daly responded: "Given that you pleaded guilty, I'm going to treat you as the person who did it."

He said Murphy had an 'appalling' record of previous convictions including for theft, battery and shoplifting.

He was sentenced to three years in prison and must also pay a victim surcharge.