One-man crimewave who’s clocked up 186 offenses back behind bars after robbing tourist on first visit to city

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

Drug addict Michael Conway-Williams, 43, has been convicted of 186 crimes during his 20 years of offending and has been in out and out of jail so much a judge once called him ”the poster boy for the revolving door prisoner”. has now been locked up again after breaking the nose of his victim from London as he walked back to his hotel after a night out with friends.

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

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Conway-Williams, from Crumpsall, north Manchester, was arrested later but then burgled a tea shop just a fortnight after being given a ten-week suspended jail sentence for stealing clothing 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 he admitted robbery and burglary.

Police will now apply for a Criminal Behavior Order which is expected to ban him from his regular haunts and restrict his movements following his release. Conway-Williams had been using drugs since he was 13 and first came to public prominence in 2004 when he and his then-wife Shirley were each jailed for three years after targeted elderly ladies in 41 separate ‘distraction theft’ attacks during shopping trips in Manchester .

Michael Conway-Williams in 2013

He would keep victims talking by asking for directions or feigning illness whilst she taking purses from their bags. Later in 2010 Conway-Williams was given a five-year ASBO after conning fellow passengers on buses and trams into giving him money with a string of hard-luck stories about family or friends being stranded and begged travelers for cash.

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

In November 2018 Conway-Williams has branded a ‘scourge’ on Manchester city center businesses after he sent back to jail for two years and nine months having stolen a pilot’s luggage from a hotel room during three more burglaries.

A police mugshot of Conway-Williams in 2004

He was released early from that prison stretch but then stole more than £2,000 worth in valuables from an abandoned office in central Manchester in broad daylight. In May 2020 he was let off with a suspended sentence but was jailed again for 18 months just three months after he was caught raiding a café.

He has previously claimed he has struggled to find accommodation whenever he has been released from jail terms and would commit crime so he can get food and shelter in prison.

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

Denise Fitzpatrick prosecuting said: ”He was followed by Conway-Willliams and others around a corner before a female approached (the victim) and stretched her hand out towards his pocket.

”He seemed to be oblivious of that and walked away whilst arguing with the woman and moments later he put his bag between him and the glass door of an aparthotel.

”Conway-Williams then appeared and struck (the victim) to his face twice then lunged at him again as they struggled over his bag. (The victim) was seen to be bleeding and his bag was taken away from him.

Conway-Williams, pictured in 2010, was one branded the ‘scourge’ of Manchester city center

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

In a statement to police he said: ”While I had physical injuries, it is the psychological damage that will take time to heal. I cannot remember what happened and I have been left with a continual fear of going outside.

“‘I feel frightened when leaving home. I cannot walk the streets if someone is behind me and my fear is ever-present. Some nights I wake up sweating. I do not know if I will ever feel fully safe to go out again. It was my first visit to Manchester and I don’t ever envisage returning.”

Stuart Duke, representing Conway-Williams, said: ”It does not paint Manchester in a good light when a visitor to this city is robbed and has his nose broken within 24 hours of arrival.

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

Sentencing Conway-Williams Judge Maurice Greene told him: ”You have a record for dishonesty which makes very grim reading. (Your victim) was taken advantage of by you and others and he was hemmed in whilst you struck him twice to the face and struggled with him before taking his bag from him. He is now frightened to go out and is worried about people following him and it is clear this has had an effect on him.’

Another man, Daniel Shaw, 35, of Harphurhey, Manchester, admitted 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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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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