Callous thief robbed man, 92, on mobility scooter after following him home from Sheffield casino
A 92-year-old man on a mobility scooter was robbed on his own doorstep after a callous thief who watched him collect hundreds of pounds in winnings from a Sheffield casino followed him home.
Sheffield Crown Court was told how on January 27 this year, pensioner Fred Atkins rounded off a pleasant day out at the Grosvenor Casino on Duchess Road with a substantial win of £863 on the machines.
Prosecuting, David Wain, told the court that due to the size of Mr Atkins' winnings, he had to collect them directly from a member of staff and that Callum Johnson, aged 30, was watching as he did so.
CCTV evidence collected by the police showed Johnson, of Foxhill Crescent, Foxhill follow Mr Atkins, who uses a mobility scooter, out of the casino and on to a tram at around 7.15pm that evening.
Mr Wain said throughout the journey to the Arbourthorne Road stop, Johnson can be seen watching Mr Atkins and following quickly behind him when he alighted from the tram.
"The defendant followed him off the tram at around 7.30pm so had been following the victim for around a quarter of an hour," said Mr Wain.
He added: "He [Mr Atkins] reached his block of flats and was in his mobility so was putting the code in with his walking stick.
"He was attacked from behind, had his left arm twisted causing him pain, and making him call out for help. As this was happening his money was taken from his pocket where he left it at the casino."
After stealing Mr Atkins' money Johnson ran off. Due to the way in which Johnson targeted the pocket Mr Atkins had left his money in, the 92-year-old told police he believed he had been watched at the casino.
This led to officers tracking, and subsequently arresting Johnson on February 13, after reviewing CCTV from the casino, trams and the streets Mr Atkins traveled along on his journey home.
In a victim impact statement, Mr Atkins told the court the ordeal had left him feeling scared and paranoid.
He said: "Nothing like this has ever happened to me. I was on my scooter, and I didn't know what was happening.
"He must have been watching me. It's made me not trust people in the casino. It's made me look up and think: 'what do they want?'
"It's frightened me."
Johnson admitted one count of robbery at an earlier hearing.
Sentencing him to four years in prison, Recorder Simon Eckersley told Johnson: "This is a dreadful offence.
"Mr Atkins lives life to the full and on January 27 he went to watch football, play the machines and have a couple of pints of Guinness. It was a good day until he was confronted with you.
"You followed him for some way, knowing he was vulnerable and he had that money. As a measure of his vulnerability, he uses a mobility scooter and needed a walking stick to input his access code."
As Johnson was leaving the court room after being given his sentence he told the Judge: "I really am sorry."