Couple jailed for robbing 91-year-old victim

03/10/2013

A man and a woman who robbed a 91-year-old woman of £130 have today been jailed to 12-and-a-half years at Wolverhampton Crown Court.

Sandra Mowbray, aged 43, had attended the victim's address in Oldbury, West Midlands on the pretence of reading her meter. A week later, 15 June 2013, she returned to say that she had left her keys in the victim's toilet and once she had gained entry into the home, it was at this stage that she confronted the victim demanding money from her.

The defendant then manhandled the victim, before she stole £130 in cash, a bank and post office card as well as a gold chain.

During this period, Lee Payne, 39, stood outside the house keeping a lookout.

Following the robbery, the victim called the police and she was taken to hospital where she received five stiches to a head wound which she had sustained during the robbery.

Later that evening, Mowbray telephoned a relative to inform them of what she had done, they in turn informed the police and both defendants were arrested.

At an earlier hearing, Mowbray pleaded guilty to robbery and theft and she was sentenced to nine years for robbery and one year consecutive for an earlier theft. Lee Payne pleaded guilty to theft and assisting an offender and he was sentenced to 18 months and one year for an earlier theft.

Samantha Dixon, Senior Crown Prosecutor from West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said:

"Sandra Mowbray and Lee Payne had clearly targeted the 91-year-old victim due to her age and vulnerability which they exploited for their own benefit.

"Targeting someone because they are older makes a crime even more serious and we are determined to bring these people to justice.

"Living free from crime is a basic human right and today I urge any older people suffering criminal mistreatment to be confident that the CPS understands the serious nature of these crimes, and to report them to police.

"Some older people may be intimidated by the court process and so prosecutors can apply for special measures like screens in court to prevent a victim seeing the defendant, or the option to give evidence away from the courtroom through a live TV link from home. Intermediaries can also help people with communication difficulties to give evidence. Witness Care Officers provide a single point of contact in the run-up to case, and can help with a range of things from taxi transport to pet-sitting

"I would also like to take this opportunity of reminding elderly homeowners to always ask for identification from anyone who claims to be a  utility worker who are requesting entry into your home. If in doubt, please do not let them in."