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By Matthew Bates Thursday 28 February 2013 Updated: 04/03 13:59
IT WAS nothing more than instinct - and a background in American Football - that led have-a-go hero Mark Nicholson to help a woman being robbed in broad daylight.
The 21-year-old from Wyken said he did not think twice about confronting Shapoor Innam, who had just stolen his 36-year-old victim's phone in Stoney Stanton Road.
Mark, a defensive lineman for Coventry Jets, kneed Innam in the chest before holding him until police arrived.
His heroics not only secured a jail term for 24-year-old Innam - and gave victim Rohey Drammeh her phone back - but led to him receiving a rare £400 reward.
Speaking to the Observer this week Mark, a former pupil at Stoke Park School, recalled how he was on his way home on December 27 when he heard a woman screaming and turned to see the pair wrestling.
"The man just walked off like nothing happened," he told us.
"It was just my initial reaction to go and get him. I wanted to get in there and help. I grabbed him by his hoody and laid my knee into his chest.
"I stayed there for about five minutes until police arrived and he didn't move a muscle.
"The woman said thank you but she was in a bit of shock obviously."
Innam appeared at Warwick Crown Court last week where he was jailed for two years and ordered to pay a £100 victim surcharge.
In court it was revealed he had previous convictions for theft, assault and possessing drugs, had grabbed his victim's right hand and demanded she hand over the phone before biting her thumb after she refused.
After sentencing him, Judge Sylvia de Bertodano ruled Mark should be rewarded for his efforts.
She claimed Innam, of Meriden Street, may not have been caught if it were not for his bravery, which went "beyond the call of duty".
"Many people in such circumstances would walk on by," she said.
Mark, who works as a press operator, said he thought it was kind of the court to give him a reward and revealed he had only told a couple of friends of the incident.
"They thought it was quite heroic of me to step in," said Mark, who admitted his role at American Football team the Jets had helped.
He added the club was looking for sponsors and new players, and recruit at the Alan Higgs Centre every Sunday between midday and 2pm.
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