A 15-year-old expectant father who committed his first crime the day after his 10th birthday has been jailed for three and a half years for taking part in a terrifying armed robbery.
In just five years, Nathanual Hemy notched up nine convictions for 22 offences including criminal damage and car theft.
He was finally jailed for a raid with other gang members in which he threatened a newsagent's shop assistant in her 60s with a large knife.
Hemy denied robbery and carrying a knife during the Southampton robbery in April but was found guilty by the city's Crown Court.
Judge Peter Henry told him: "Despite your young age, you played an active and physical part in this robbery.
"Although you were led, you took a significant role in what happened. You participated in this robbery in an enthusiastic manner."
Despite the judge's criticism, Hemy's family yesterday blamed his gang leader and lack of a father figure for his decision to become a career criminal.
For the last two years he has been raised by his great-grandmother Jacqueline Williams, 71, and her daughter Lorraine Claffey, 51.
Both claimed his behaviour and descent into a life of crime stem from when his mother Lisa Hemy, 35, placed him in care when he was nine – and from not knowing his dad.
Widow Jacqueline, who fostered Nathanual two years ago after had been placed in a series of foster homes, said: "He doesn't even know his dad's name. He's never known a dad and never had a male role model to look up to."
She said Lisa Hemy placed him into care when he was aged just nine because she had serious problems coping with him.
Just a year later he was given his first conviction for criminal damage for smashing a window at the Vermont School in Southampton, Hants.
Mrs Williams, who has 18 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, revealed that Nathanual and girlfriend Lotus Lendon, 16, were expecting their first child, a boy already named Reegen, in the next few days.
She said: "He's a good boy really. I just hope that last court case will make him change his ways. He's a nice boy at heart.
"Nathanual is really excited about becoming a dad but is obviously sad that he will not be able to be there when the child is born. I'm hoping that fatherhood will change his ways.
"He's already told me, 'Nan. I don't want my son to end up like me'. It's such a shame what has happened.
"We are so devastated as a family and I know he is gutted he will miss the birth of his first child."
After the latest raid, gang ringleader Sid Pumford, 31, was jailed for 19 years after admitting a series of raids.
Hemy, although he is still a juvenile at 15, he can be named because he was tried in an adult court alongside adults and no application to hide his identity was made.