Friends who stole from collapsed man and left him to die will be sentenced today

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A TEENAGE thief who stole a helpless man’s mobile phone and left him lying in a back alley in a South Tyneside street – just hours before he was found dead – will be sentenced today

Scott Stephenson rifled through the pockets of the 22-year-old while he lay helpless after falling over in the early hours of a cold night in December.

The victim’s body was found the next morning near a play area in Dacre Street, South Shields, and a post-mortem examination later concluding that the likely cause of his death was hypothermia.

Stephenson, 19, and 25-year-old friend, Dale Walker had travelled on a Metro with the victim – getting off at Chichester, South Shields, at 11.50pm on December 16, of last year.

When the victim suggested they continue to socialise at one of their homes, the pair declined and ran off.

The man followed them and is thought to have tripped and fell.

Stephenson and Walker saw him slumped on a fence near a basketball court, but both left.

About half an hour later they returned to check on him, but instead, Stephenson stole his iPhone 4s, while Walker looked on.

Stephenson, whose address was given as St Mark’s Way, South Shields, admitted a charge of theft at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court last month

Walker, of Victoria Road, South Shields, entered a guilty plea to a charge of handling stolen goods.

The pair, who were granted bail, will be sentenced later today at Newcastle Crown Court.