Northumberland thief sentenced for attack on 85-year-old man

A thief attacked a vulnerable 85-year-old man and stole his cash when he visited her home.

Tuesday, 27th July 2021, 9:10 am
Newcastle Crown Court.

The victim had travelled to Donna Cox's home in Northumberland to collect some tools she had previously borrowed from him.

During the visit, his pockets were searched, his cash was taken and he suffered an injury to his hand when was pushed by the 40-year-old as he tried to get his money back.

Newcastle Crown Court heard that the victim, who is deaf and has other health problems, had begun talking to Cox in the months leading up to the incident on July 17 last year but was warned against it by his own niece.

Prosecutor Elizabeth Muir said: "He went to the defendant's address to collect a screwdriver he had previously left her at 5-5:30 in the evening.

"She said she would look for his tools but couldn't find them.

"He had only been at the address for ten minutes when the defendant began searching his coat pockets."

The court heard Cox stole the £170 in cash from the victim's wallet before pushing him back when he tried to retrieve it.

As a result, he trapped his hand in a door and needed to be treated at Wansbeck General Hospital, where he was given steri-strips before being discharged.

Ms Muir added: "He initially told his niece he injured himself at the bus station as he didn't want her to be cross with him as she told him to stay away from the defendant."

A brief impact statement from the victim read: "I do want to say I've not been well since this incident."

Cox, of no fixed abode, who has 26 previous convictions, admitted theft and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Richard Bloomfield, mitigating, told the court Cox had recently admitted herself into hospital so she could address issues regarding her mental health and addiction problems and invited the court to suspend any custodial sentence.

Mr Bloomfield added: "Hopefully this matter being out of the way, she can start going forward."

Judge Robert Spragg told Cox he was prepared to spare her immediate prison, to allow her the chance to rehabilitate herself.

He sentenced her to 16 months imprisonment suspended for 18 months, with 20 days of rehabilitation requirements.

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