It is a sad and unfortunate fact that more often than not victims of crime are the most vulnerable people in our society. They are chosen because they are easy targets and attacked to get property or cash or conned out of money.
Judges and magistrates will often consider it to be an aggravating factor when deciding how long a prison sentence a defendant is going to serve. Victims deemed to be vulnerable can be the elderly or those suffering from physical or mental health problems.
There have been a number of shocking cases that have been brought before the courts recently.
READ MORE: Hungry thief ate pot noodle before attacking 77-year-old at retirement home
Bernadette Meade who robbed a 77-year-old at an old people’s housing complex
Bernadette Meade deliberately chose a housing complex for the elderly to search for items she could steal to buy money for drugs. At around 4am on December 21 last year Meade was caught on CCTV letting herself in to the home, in Saltley.
She then wandered around stealing items including a kettle and costume jewelery which she put into bags and also helped herself to a pot noodle. Meade managed to lock herself out but was let in again by a 77-year-old resident after she told him she was seeing her uncle.
The defendant then seized upon the chance to attack the pensioner, who used a zimmer frame, before snatching a £20 note from his top pocket and making off, but not before gratuitously punching him.
In passing sentence Abigail Nixon QC said: “You would have known that there were elderly residents within the address. You locked yourself out but then saw the unfortunate victim who was up early.
“He was an easy target and vulnerable with a Zimmer frame. You attacked him and tried to push him over. He valiantly tried to fight you off despite the fact he was suffering from a lot of pain in his shoulder.”
Meade, 37, of no fixed address, who had admitted robbery, three charges of burglary and three of theft, was jailed for four years.
Peter Flynn snatched a bag from a 75-year-old woman on a mobility scooter
Another drug addict desperate for cash to feed his habit was Peter Flynn who had previously stolen children’s Christmas presents. On January 14 this year he told his ex-partner he was “going on the rob” before targeting an elderly woman on a mobility scooter
The pensioner, who used the scooter following a fall which had shattered her elbow, had done some shopping at the Co op and had withdrawn £50, was going along Berryfields Road, Walmley. She was waiting at a crossing when Flynn ripped a bag from her and fled.
Flynn, 35, of Brentwood Hotel, Portland Road, Edgbaston, who had previously admitted robbery, was jailed for five years. In passing sentence, Judge Avik Mukherjee said: “You planned this robbery and you targeted her because she was alone and vulnerable. “Obviously vulnerable because she was on a mobility scooter.”
READ MORE: Woman in mobility scooter has handbag snatched in Sutton Coldfield
Giles Billingham stole from his ‘forgetful’ grandmother
Also driven by a need to get drugs was Giles Billingham who stole £16k from ‘confused and forgetful’ 94-year-old grandmother. Stefan Kolodynski, prosecuting, said the victim had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in January 2018 by her GP.
He told the court: “He described her as confused and forgetful. Her state was clearly visible to her family.” Billingham was a regular visitor to her home and after taking out a Power of Attorney took control of her finances
An investigation revealed the defendant had been making regular withdrawals from his grandmother’s accounts with the West Bromwich Building Society and Lloyds Bank, which were “well in excess of her needs”, for a three-month period.
He had also written a ‘script’ of ‘what to say to the police’ for her to read. Billingham, 43, of Waterside House, Princip Street, Aston, who had previously admitted two charges of fraud by abuse of position, was sentenced to two years, suspended for two years, and ordered to pay £425 costs.
READ MORE: Controlling drug addict stole £16k from ‘confused and forgetful’ 94-year-old grandmother
Barrington Davis held a knife to the face of an escort during a robbery
An escort working alone from an apartment in Birmingham was picked out as an easy target for Barrington Davis and an accomplishment. Birmingham Crown Court heard that after making an appointment the two of them arrived at the flat on May 29 2020 after traveling from Nottingham.
Davis hid, put on a mask, and then burst in shortly after the first man had entered the premises. The victim was grabbed round the neck making it difficult for her to breathe and a hand was also put over her mouth.
Davis then held a knife to the victim’s face before taking her purse containing bank cards and £1,500 in cash. Judge Samantha Crabb told the defendant, who had previously visited schools to speak out against violence, “I have no doubt that you and your accomplishe deliberately targeted her knowing that she would be alone and that it was likely she would be in possession of a quantity of cash.” She said she was also targeted because she was less likely to make a complaint to the police.
Dad-of-three Davis, of Frankley Lane, Northfield, who had previously been found guilty of robbery following a trial, was jailed for seven and half years for his part in the planned raid.
READ MORE: Anti-violence campaigner subjected escort to terrifying knife-point robbery
Muhammed Hassan-Omar fleeced vulnerable adults to feed a gambling habit
While care worker Muhammed Hassan-Omar was jailed after he used bank cards to steal from vulnerable adults to feed his gambling addiction. Hassan-Omar had been employed as a care worker at the residential home for vulnerable adults since September 2019 and was a key worker for one particular resident who suffered from epilepsy, autism and learning difficulties.
Matters came to light when the home manager received an email from the brother of the resident about his increased spending while other residents found there was money missing from their accounts.
The defendant took over £1,000 from the victims – spending some of the money on clothes in Sports Direct. Hassan-Omar, 25, of Newbridge Road, Bordesley Green, who had previously admitted four charges of fraud, was sentenced nine months ago.
Judge Heidi Kubic QC said: “You stole from some of the most vulnerable people in our society. You abused your position of trust in the care home.”
READ MORE: Birmingham care worker stole over £1,000 from vulnerable people then went shopping at Sports Direct
John Davis stole from a victim rendered ‘helpless’ after smoking a cigarette
John Davis’s victim became vulnerable after he smoked a cigarette given to him by the defendant. Davis had asked the victim for a light in Percy Street, Sparkhill, on February 17 2020. He then offered him a drag on a cigarette.
It caused the man to feel ‘woozy’ and he collapsed. Davis walked away but returned and gave the victim a bear hug taking the opportunity to pick his pockets and take his phone and bank cards.
Mr Edward Soulsby, prosecuting at Birmingham Crown Court, said the man later identified the defendant from CCTV. In a statement he said the incident had left him feeling worried and scared for his safety.
Davis, who had previously admitted two charges of theft and three of fraud, was jailed for nine months. In passing sentence, Mr Recorder David Richards said: “On February 17 you stole from a helpless man.
“He had been rendered unconscious by something you had given him. You took advantage of that and picked his pockets. You targeted him. There was an opportunity. Most people would have helped him but you did not because you had your own needs and put them first. He was vulnerable.”
READ MORE: Thief gave victim a ‘bear hug and picked his pockets’ after he collapsed on Birmingham street