‘De­spi­ca­ble’ mother stole money from el­derly friend


Hull Daily Mail - - NEWS - By Dan Kemp dan.kemp@reach­plc.com

A “DE­SPI­CA­BLE” bur­glar twice stole bank cards and cash from an el­derly widow – while vis­it­ing her for cups of tea to “sym­pa­thise” and telling her: “You don’t de­serve this”.

Joanna Tay­lor, 33, was friends with the 74-year-old, who lived in the same street, and would pay weekly so­cial calls on her to drink tea and chat, Hull Crown Court heard.

But the for­mer heroin ad­dict, who moved to Hull from her na­tive North­ern Ire­land to quit drugs, de­cided to take ad­van­tage of the woman af­ter a re­lapse.

Phillip Evans, pros­e­cut­ing, said at 1pm on Septem­ber 3, the vic­tim’s daugh­ter was “puz­zled” when vis­it­ing her mother’s to find the door un­locked and her mother out. Go­ing in to in­ves­ti­gate, she found Tay­lor “hid­ing in the spare room with a small child” [her son].

When she con­fronted the ap­par­ent in­truder, Tay­lor said the pen­sioner had “asked her to look af­ter the house”. The re­al­ity was she was in the process of bur­gling it, steal­ing a debit card and the purse it was kept in with £40.

When the vic­tim was told Tay­lor had been in her house, she asked her about it, and was told she had found it un­locked and gone in­side “to check all was all right”.

The widow con­sid­ered Tay­lor such a good friend she trusted her and “ac­cepted that ex­pla­na­tion”.

The woman re­alised the next day her debit card was miss­ing. She re­ported it to her bank, which in­formed her it had been used three times since go­ing miss­ing.

In fact, less than half an hour af­ter be­ing found in the prop­erty in Arun­del Close, off Hold­er­ness Road , Tay­lor was us­ing the card to with­draw £100 from a Post Of­fice in Pre­ston Road, also in east Hull.

In to­tal, Tay­lor with­drew £190 with that card. De­spite what she had done, Tay­lor re­sumed her pre­tence of friend­ship and paid an­other so­cial call to the widow, who “told the de­fen­dant how up­set­ting this ex­pe­ri­ence had been for her”, Mr Evans said.

“The de­fen­dant sym­pa­thised and claimed to be pleased that things were be­ing sorted out.”

A new bank card was is­sued on Septem­ber 20, but when the pen­sioner looked in her purse she found that had also gone miss­ing. Tay­lor had stolen it and used it over the next two days to with­draw £175.

Tay­lor again vis­ited her un­sus­pect­ing vic­tim to of­fer sup­port and say she “hoped that the po­lice would catch the thief” and “you don’t de­serve this”.

But po­lice in­quiries soon re­vealed CCTV of Tay­lor us­ing the cards at cash machines.

When the truth was fi­nally re­vealed to the vic­tim, she said she felt she “had been tar­geted be­cause she was el­derly and liv­ing alone”.

She also felt “con­fused and an­gry”.

Tay­lor, who had more than 40 pre­vi­ous of­fences on her record, ad­mit­ted two counts of bur­glary, two of fraud, and fail­ing to pro­vide a sam­ple for a drugs test.

John Thack­ray, for Tay­lor, said: “It is, I con­cede, an ap­palling set of cir­cum­stances and the de­fen­dant ac­cepts that. It is ar­guable that be­yond credit for her guilty pleas and the to­tal­ity [sen­tenc­ing] prin­ci­ple there is lit­tle that can be said on be­half of this de­fen­dant.”

Af­ter read­ing let­ters from Tay­lor, Judge Mark Bury said they showed a “good deal of self-pity”, but ac­cepted there was a “re­al­i­sa­tion she be­haved de­spi­ca­bly” and that Tay­lor was sorry.

Tay­lor was jailed for 20 months.

“It is ar­guable that be­yond credit for her guilty pleas and the to­tal­ity [sen­tenc­ing] prin­ci­ple there is lit­tle that can be said on be­half of this de­fen­dant John Thackary

Joanna Tay­lor

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