“About a fortnight later the mugger was arrested on a separate drug‑related matter. At the time of his arrest he said that he wanted to confess to my robbery because he had been feeling so guilty about it. The police checked the details against their database and contacted me.

“I prepared a witness impact statement for court. I thought that it was really important that I read that statement personally to have the greatest impact. There are so many things in a handbag, from the things that your insurance company can replace to the irreplaceable things - notes from my daughters as they grew up and little gifts from my Dad who'd passed away in 2008. Those were the things that I'll never get back. The mugger was sentenced to three years with no grounds for appeal.

“About a month later I was contacted by PC Nick Hughes. Craig, the mugger, had asked to take part in a restorative conference with me. My first reaction was to wonder if he'd get anything out of it - why should I help him get time off his sentence? I soon learned that wouldn’t be the case, but my family were immediately against it – in fact, the vast majority of people I spoke to thought I was mad to even consider it. I spoke with PC Nick at length and he explained everything and gave me time to think about it and decide.

“For me, because of the way the mugging had made me feel, I thought that restorative justice would give me back control. I would be the one making decisions. I would be in charge. That wasn't something I got from reading the victim impact statement in court. The court process and Craig’s sentence and the court process hadn’t given me back what I had lost...."

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