ROB­BER OWNS UP AT LAST

VIC­TIM A PENSIONER, 87

Geelong Advertiser - - NEWS - GREG DUNDAS

A CORIO woman has fi­nally ad­mit­ted she picked the pocket of a con­fused, 87-year-old pensioner on a mo­bil­ity scooter out­side his lo­cal bank.

But Char­maine El­ston’s ad­mis­sion yes­ter­day came too late for the vic­tim, who had Parkin­son’s dis­ease, and has since died.

Gee­long Mag­is­trates’ Court heard El­ston, 31, had her four-year-old daugh­ter with her when she robbed the man on May 25 out­side the Corio Vil­lage Com­mon­wealth Bank ATM.

Po­lice im­me­di­ately iden­ti­fied El­ston af­ter be­ing alerted to the crime by the vic­tim’s daugh­ter and view­ing the bank’s se­cu­rity footage.

They showed El­ston the vi­sion, and she iden­ti­fied her daugh­ter and friend Ann Ma­ree Jones, but de­nied she was the per­son car­ry­ing the child.

The cha­rade ended yes­ter­day when mag­is­trate Michael Cogh­lan of­fered El­ston a onemonth jail term for the theft.

He told the woman she was likely to get a longer term if she con­tin­ued to fight the charges and was later found guilty, and also said the prison sen­tence would count among the eight weeks she has al­ready spent in cus­tody af­ter be­ing ar­rested and re­fused bail in Septem­ber.

Af­ter a brief dis­cus­sion with her lawyer Adrian Paull, El­ston agreed to plead guilty.

Po­lice pros­e­cu­tors were likely to use a writ­ten state­ment from the vic­tim and the video ev­i­dence in the case against El­ston if she took the mat­ter to a con­tested hear­ing.

Po­lice pros­e­cu­tor Lead­ing Se­nior Con­sta­ble Ge­off Lamb said the footage showed Jones walk past the ATM, watch­ing the vic­tim with­draw $800.

Al­though the man did not know them, El­ston and Jones started a con­ver­sa­tion with him and con­fused him as he re­versed his scooter back to­wards the ATM.

He told po­lice he re­called one of the women putting her arm around him and touch­ing him at the side, but didn’t re­alise his money was gone un­til they’d driven off.

He later told his daugh­ter, who no­ti­fied po­lice.

El­ston still has a num­ber of mat­ters be­fore the courts, and was kept in cus­tody to await those.

Mr Cogh­lan told her he would have jailed her for three months on the theft mat­ter had she fought the charge and been found guilty.

Char­maine El­ston leaves court ear­lier this year.

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