Theft from pensioner ‘meanest’ offence

Symbol of law and justice in the empty courtroom, law and justice concept.
Symbol of law and justice in the empty courtroom, law and justice concept.

A pensioner who was the victim of a theft in a supermarket had her holiday spoiled when a 43-year-old man stole her handbag containing £250.

She also said in her victim impact statement that she now feels anxious when she goes out in case it happens again.

Darren Flowers, Legahory Court, Craigavon, had pleaded guilty to the theft of a handbag containing £250 in cash on October 16 last year.

He also admitted criminal damage to cards in the handbag belonging to the injured party.

Sentencing had been adjourned from a previous court to obtain a pre-sentence report and a victim impact statement.

The court heard that on October 19 last year police were informed about the theft of a handbag at Tesco in Craigavon.

CCTV on October 16 showed Flowers taking the handbag from the injured party.

They spoke to him at his home and he provided them with the handbag. The cards had been cut up and put in the bin.

He admitted the theft saying it was a crime of opportunity but denied there was £250 in the handbag as the victim claimed.

A barrister representing Flowers said he had no previous convictions for theft.

He added it was an extremely mean offence and the victim’s mental state had been affected by his actions.

District Judge, Mrs Bernie Kelly, said the statement showed the injured party was basically anxious when she was out fearing this would happen again.

The judge read part of the impact statement in the court where the victim said that she had been going on holiday two weeks after this happened and it spoiled the holiday.

On the day it happened she had been returning from hospital after her heart had been running too fast and she had previously suffered two heart attacks. Her heart was racing dangerously that day.

Both she and her husband were pensioners and £250 was a significant amount of money to them.

Judge Kelly said the victim was a pensioner with a history of heart attacks who was going on holiday and she could not think of any more aggravating features.

She added the woman was ‘a very vulnerable individual’ and this was about the meanest offence she could think of.

The judge said Flowers did not have any offences for dishonesty on his record and given his age she would take that into consideration.

For each of the two offences she sentenced him to four months in prison, suspended for two years.

She also ordered him to pay £250 compensation.