Shocking footage has revealed the moment a thief stole a purse from a frail 86-year-old woman – who died less than two months later after becoming gripped with anxiety and fear.
Jason King followed the pensioner for ten minutes as she shopped in an Aldi supermarket in Brighton, Sussex and then snatched her purse from her handbag.
King, 42, found the purse was empty but he dipped into the bag again and stole her wallet which had money and cards inside.
He then brazenly put the empty purse back in her bag and used her contactless cards in nearby stores.
The victim – who walked with a stoop due to a spine injury – had no idea she had been robbed until she got to the checkout and was unable to pay.
She died less than two months after the theft in April 2018 – and her carers feel the distress caused by the theft may have been a factor although she did die of natural causes.
The pensioner never left home again after the robbery due to “anxiety” and a “loss of confidence”, according to her carers.
Police investigator Rose Horan said the crime had a devastating impact on the victim.
She told the court: “The victim went from being a lively, independent and sociable woman to being frightened, scared to go out and in fact she never went out again, she sadly died within two months.
“People of that age, who have lived their lives, the last thing they expect is somebody to do this to them.
“It does leave these people shocked and distressed.”
King, of Brighton, was spotted by Aldi staff when he returned to the store four months later in August 2018 and he was arrested and charged with theft.
He failed to attend court for his trial and was found guilty of theft in his absence because the video evidence was so compelling.
King then appealed the conviction which meant the victim’s daughter had to endure the ordeal of making a statement identifying her own mother from the footage.
But his appeal was dismissed on July 5 2019 at Brighton Crown Court.
Shameless King again did not attend court – claiming he had been injured at work the previous day.
The judge issued a warrant for his arrest and officers arrested him on July 9.
He appeared at court again that day and was jailed for a year.
Police investigator Paul Dixon, from Sussex Police, said: “This was a very distressing case in which an elderly lady was ruthlessly taken advantage of by a despicable thief who gave no thought to the impact on his victim.
“We and her family are very glad that justice has now been done in her memory.”
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