A 96-year-old Sheffield woman who was burgled by a former carer has branded the culprit ‘disgusting and cowardly’.
The elderly lady was the target of 25-year-old Maria Edwards, who sneaked into her flat and stole £500 in cash which was supposed to be used for paying bills.
Sheffield Crown Court Judge Paul Camp handed Edwards a two-year suspended jail term and told her: “It’s really difficult to imagine a meaner and more despicable burglary than the one you carried out.”
The court heard that on the morning of January 5, the buzzer was sounded at the flats complex on Oliver Road, Millhouses, but when the elderly victim went to answer it there was no one there.
Neil Coxon, prosecuting, said: “A witness came out of one of the neighbouring flats and noticed there was no one there other than the victim. This witness was a carer and dealing with one of the victim’s neighbours.
“Some time just after 9am, the witness had seen someone walking past the patio doors of the property she was working at. She thought the person looked suspicious and watched where she went.”
The court heard that when the witness heard the victim had been burgled, she searched the complex and found Edwards hiding at the far end of a corridor.
Edwards was later arrested and during interview admitted she had formerly worked as a carer at the complex.
In a statement read out in court, the victim said: “I rely on carers as the people I see every day to help me. I’m worried that someone will come to my flat without my knowing.
“Since this incident I’m constantly on edge and always listening out for people outside or people talking. I’m not very mobile but I find I’m getting up from my chair and looking out. All of this movement is causing pain to my body.
“I think it’s disgusting and cowardly that someone should do this.”
The court heard that as Edwards, of Brighton Road, Derby, was being processed in the cells following her arrest, she bit a detention officer on the hand.
She also gave police a false address and when they obtained the correct address they found a small quantity of cannabis during a search.
Edwards was convicted at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court of possession of a class B drug, burglary, and a summary offence relating to biting the officer.
In addition to the suspended sentence Edwards was given a 12-month supervision order and must carry out 240 hours of unpaid work and pay £500 compensation.