Drug-addled grandma tar­geted the vul­ner­a­ble

WOMAN FORCED ONE VIC­TIM TO HAND OVER JUST 83 PENCE IN CHANGE

Hull Daily Mail - - NEWS - By Si­mon Bris­tow Court Re­porter si­mon.bris­tow@reach­plc.com

A GRAND­MOTHER who preyed on men­tally ill peo­ple to get money for drugs forced one woman to hand over just 83p.

When an­other vic­tim tried to re­sist Joanne Moss, 52, she threat­ened to re­port him for “rape“, Hull Crown Court heard.

Moss, whose life has been “ru­ined” by class A drugs, de­lib­er­ately tar­geted both vic­tims be­cause she knew they were vul­ner­a­ble and lived at Ash Lodge, a res­i­den­tial home in Bev­er­ley Road for adults with men­tal health dif­fi­cul­ties.

John Thack­ray, pros­e­cut­ing, said she pounced on both near Tesco Ex­press, also in Bev­er­ley Road, west Hull, on New Year’s Day.

The first vic­tim, a woman in her 50s, was grabbed by the arm by Moss and led across the road, which was “nei­ther nec­es­sary nor wanted”. “She said she wanted to go shop­ping on her own,” Mr Thack­ray said.

But Moss took her in Tesco and “fol­lowed her around the store”, then packed her shop­ping when she went to pay. Moss told the woman she wanted 50p, and was given it. Then Moss said she wanted £1 and tried to grab the woman’s purse. The woman shouted at Moss, who ran off.

“How much money did she take?” asked Judge Mark Bury. “Eighty-three pence,” said Mr Thack­ray.

Mr Thack­ray said the woman “felt like the de­fen­dant was go­ing to hit her, and the pros­e­cu­tion say it was not the fi­nan­cial loss to her that was sig­nif­i­cant, but the con­duct of the de­fen­dant in pur­su­ing her and try­ing to ob­tain money from her”.

“Very shortly af­ter­wards”, Moss had her next vic­tim, when a man in his 30s – who had a phys­i­cal dis­abil­ity as well as learn­ing dif­fi­cul­ties – was tar­geted in the same shop while on an er­rand for a friend at Ash Lodge.

He had been given £20 and left Tesco with £15 in his hand, which Moss grabbed af­ter ask­ing him for money. Mr Thack­ray said: “This was up­set­ting for the com­plainant be­cause this was not his money.”

The man said he wanted the money back, but Moss “re­sponded by telling him she would re­port him to the po­lice for rape if he con­tin­ued to ask for the money back”.

The vic­tim backed off and went back to Ash Lodge, where he re­ported the theft to a mem­ber of staff. He was “known to be happy and jok­ing“, but spent the rest of the day “close to the staff ”.

A sup­port worker said “he wasn’t him­self for a few days; he wouldn’t go out”.

Moss, of Hen­son Vil­las, Pear­son Park, west Hull, did give the £15 back to Ash Lodge, but was later ar­rested. She ad­mit­ted two counts of theft.

Nigel Clive, for Moss, said: “This de­fen­dant knows fine well her of­fences were mean. This de­fen­dant, through me, says it’s time for a change.” Moss had been largely dis­owned by her fam­ily and was em­bar­rassed by her ad­dic­tion to heroin, Mr Clive said.

Jail­ing Moss for a year, Judge Mark Bury told her: “Ad­dic­tion to class A drugs has ru­ined your life. You are 52 years old. If you con­tinue to use class A drugs your life ex­pectancy is go­ing to be dras­ti­cally short­ened.

“You have got se­ri­ous pre­vi­ous con­di­tions on your record. You’ve been deal­ing drugs, for which you’ve had a long sen­tence; you’ve been steal­ing from peo­ple, you’ve been rob­bing peo­ple and you’ve been bur­gling peo­ple’s houses. And here you are again com­mit­ting se­ri­ous of­fences.

“You still haven’t learnt, Joanne Moss, that if you take class A drugs and com­mit of­fences to feed that habit you are in­evitably go­ing to have to serve cus­to­dial sen­tences.”

When a vic­tim tried to re­sist Joanne Moss, 52, she threat­ened to re­port him for “rape“, Hull Crown Court heard

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