Jail for callous thief who stole pensioner's handbag
A THIEF who snatched a pensioner's handbag, containing her only precious photo of her parents, has been jailed for 16 months.
Allen Evans used his car to block 77-year-old Marthe Payne reversing her vehicle out of the Sainsbury's car park in Winterstoke Road. He then opened her car door and grabbed her bag from the passenger seat.
Bristol Crown Court heard he also snatched bags from the Cath Kidston shop on Park Street.
Father-of-two Evans, 31, of Bishport Avenue in Hartcliffe, pleaded guilty to two thefts.
Judge Julian Lambert told him: "You know well the most serious aspect was stealing from an elderly lady. You detained her, you intimidated her, you snatched her handbag from the seat of her vehicle.
"That was targeting of a vulnerable, elderly lady. It was calculated, sophisticated, cynical and without human feeling. The potential loss to her was utterly devastating."
Evans struggled with security staff as a supporter tried to hand him money as he was taken down.
Robert Reid, prosecuting, said a woman asked Mrs Payne for a light in Sainsbury's car park and she said she didn't have one and continued loading shopping into her car.
Mr Reid said: "She was reversing her car when her progress was stopped by a vehicle in which the defendant was driving, and the female who asked for a light was passenger. The vehicle stopped, the male and female changed places and the defendant got out and asked the victim for a light. She said she didn't have a light. Her handbag was on the seat and he opened the passenger door and snatched the handbag from the passenger seat."
The court heard a disorientated Mrs Payne was helped into the store by shoppers, who rang police.
Mr Reid said: "Police intelligence identified the defendant and he was found at his home."
The court heard the handbag contained rosary beads as well as a precious picture providing Mrs Payne's only link to her parents.
Evans took police to where he dumped the bag and all items were recovered, the court heard.
Mrs Payne gave a victim impact statement in which she said: "I don't comprehend how they could target someone my age in such a malicious manner. It was pre-planned as they spoke to me twice.
"I now feel extremely nervous and vulnerable in my own home and have not been sleeping or eating.
"They stole a photograph which can never be replaced, which is many, many years old and I have no copy.
"I feel desperately sad, angry and bitter and have suffered financially as well as inconvenience and general disruption."
Mr Reid said Evans and a woman were also seen acting suspiciously in the Cath Kidston store in Park Street and CCTV footage confirmed the woman concealed £524 worth of bags and purses before getting into a car and being driven off by Evans.
Emily Evans, defending, said her client had got clean of drugs but relapsed and committed the thefts out of desperation to fund his habit.