A ‘cowardly’ former Sheffield carer stole money from a vulnerable 82-year-old man to pay for his online gambling addiction.
A judge branded 21-year-old Jack Thompson’s crime ‘loathsome’ and ‘despicable’ as he wept in the dock at Sheffield Crown Court.
Thompson, of Clifton Avenue, Handsworth, admitted two counts of burglary and was given a 12-month jail sentence, suspended for two years.
The burglar covered his face with a scarf as left court and got into a taxi flanked by his family.
One of the victim’s daughters today said Thompson should have been sent to jail.
She said: “It’s absolutely disgusting what he’s done. He should of got at least five years.
“Him and his family have been crying like they’re the victims but it was us who were crying when he stormed into our dad’s house.”
The court was told Thompson targeted the partially-sighted 82-year-old man, who suffers from hearing problems and memory loss, because he was ‘easy prey’.
He was aware his victim was in supported living through his former job in a care home.
Thompson went into the house twice wearing a carer’s uniform. He ‘lost his bottle’ on the first occasion and left empty-handed but the second time he took £140 in cash from the pensioner’s trouser pocket.
A neighbour spotted him going into the premises and became suspicious as the elderly man’s visits from carers were normally at a different time of day.
He confronted Thompson, who ‘brazened it out’ claiming to be a carer and was allowed to leave.
But when it was discovered money had been stolen, Thompson was tracked down by police and arrested, but initially denied being involved – only to accept his guilty after being picked out in an identification parade.
Richard Adams, defending, said Thompson had never been in trouble with the police before and would be ‘unlikely to grace the dock of a court again’.
He said: “He doesn’t hide from the fact given the nature of the offending that these are despicable offences.”
Mr Adams Thompson , who now works as a chef, having previously been a carer, had become addicted to online gambling.
“Addiction took a hold of him, he was online 24/7,” he said.
“He is a very young, very anxious man.”
Judge Paul Watson QC adjourned the sentencing for a day and Thompson spent a night in custody.
The judge told him: “These were a set of despicable and cowardly crimes.
“Your justification to use the money for your own gambling addiction reeks of hypocrisy.
“I decided to think about this overnight and I have to take any emotional attachment out of my decision.
“You should be utterly ashamed of yourself – the victim was a vulnerable, elderly man and you knew he was easy prey.
“I hope there will be an opportunity for you to formally apologise to the victim.
“On balance you have pleaded guilty at the earliest chance, you have no previous convictions and have shown genuine remorse.
“Your night in custody was certainly an eye-opener for you and it should act as a deterrent.
“It may not bring much comfort to your victim, but at least your are in a position to pay back the money you stole.
“For your loathsome conduct you will be on curfew for six months.”
Thompson was given a 8pm to 6am curfew and must carry out 250 hours of unpaid work in the community.