Shropshire Star

Man broke 87-year old church-goer's arm in 'really horrible' bag snatch

A man broke an 87-year-old church choir member’s arm when he snatched her bag, a court was told.

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Judge Barry described the incident as "a really horrible thing to do".

Joshua Allen, 33, from Meadowlea, Madeley, Telford, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm and theft, when he appeared at Shrewsbury Crown Court. Simon Burch, prosecuting, told the court that Allen had attacked his victim in Madeley in December 2019.

He was sentenced to two years and three months in prison for the offences – described as a “really horrible thing to do” by Judge Peter Barrie.

However, because Allen has already spent more than 1,000 days on an electronically tagged curfew, the court heard he is likely to be released without spending time in prison, due to time already served.

Mr Burch had told how the victim had been targeted within metres of her home, near to Tesco in the town, at about 5.15pm, when it was already dark.

He said she had seen a young man in dark clothing who was standing by a hedge, causing her to quicken her walk.

As she was going to retrieve her door key from her bag she was accosted by the defendant and thrown to the ground as he snatched her handbag.

The fall left her with a broken elbow which required a plaster cast and a stay in hospital.

The woman, who also has a pacemaker, was treated for shock.

The pensioner, who is a regular churchgoer, then had to stay in a care home while she recovered due to the injury.

Her bag had contained a lot of important personal items, including bank cards, a document with her address, £14 in cash, music from her choir, church rosary beads, inhalers, a Tesco card, a library card and other medicine.

Mr Burch had explained how the incident had left the victim worried about her property being targeted because of the note containing her address.

He added that the incident means she no longer feels safe going out by herself, is very nervous – and particularly panicked by seeing young men in dark clothing.

Her arm injury also meant she was also unable to knit garments for premature children, as she had frequently done before, or attend church services.

Kevin Jones, mitigating, said Allen deserved credit for pleading guilty to the offences.

Sentencing Judge Barrie said: “This was a really horrible thing to do.”

He said he accepted that the defendant was remorseful but added that he had assaulted a woman who was “highly vulnerable”.

He added: “By virtue of time you have spent on qualified curfew, coupled with the fact you would serve half of your sentence in custody before release, the effect of this order is you do not have to go into actual custody.”

Allen was ordered to pay £200 costs.

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