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Oldbury couple jailed after violent robbery of 19-year-old woman
4:04pm Tuesday 8th October 2013 in News
A “DESPICABLE” Oldbury woman who bound and gagged a frightened 91-year-old pensioner has been jailed for ten years.
Sandra Mowbray targeted vulnerable Flora Knight in her Oldbury home because she knew she was frail and she left her nursing a cut that needed five stitches.
Mowbray’s partner Lee Payne, who lived with her at Richmond Hill, was also jailed for two and a half years for keeping look out.
Recorder John Edwards told 43-year-old Mowbray at Wolverhampton Crown Court: "This woman was entitled to see out the last years of her life in the peace and serenity of her home and you have deprived her of that legitimate expectation.
"She can no longer do anyone a good turn without feeling someone would turn on her. But she is made of stern stuff and notwithstanding her appalling ordeal she will not be moved out of her home."
Mr Howard Searle prosecuting said Mowbray first went to Mrs Knight's home claiming to be from the council and wanting to read her meter.
She managed to get into the house and she stole £13 while her 39-year-old Payne acted as a lookout, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.
But just days later Mowbray went back to the house on the pretence she had left her keys behind in the property and after being let in again she demanded money.
When the frail pensioner said she had no money Mowbray started twisting her around by the arms and Mrs Knight fell to the floor striking her head against the kitchen door.
Mr Searle said that Mowbray then grabbed a tea towel and wrapped it around the pensioner's head before using a belt to bind her hands together. When Mrs Knight tried to wriggle free she was dragged upstairs while Mowbray carried out a search. The judge described the crime as “despicable.”
She took £130 from a handbag and a purse containing bank cards before snatching a chain from round the neck of the pensioner who was warned to stay on the bed and count to 100 or there would be trouble.
Later that night, said Mr Searle, Mowbray called her brother-in-law and confessed to what she had done and he and her sister were so horrified they immediately notified the police.
In a victim impact statement Mrs Knight told police the incident had left her "feeling drained of life" and, said Mr Searle, she felt a "great deal of disgust" at what had happened at the hands of another woman.
Mowbray of Richmond Hill, Oldbury admitted robbery and theft.
The court was told the necklace snatched from Mrs Knight was recovered from the couple's home while £70 was found on Payne - the rest of the money having been spent on alcohol.
Mr Michael Anning defending Payne said he was involved because they wanted money to buy drink.
Mr David Bratt defending Mowbray maintained it was never her intention to use force against the pensioner and said she had simply gone to the house to take money.
Samantha Dixon, senior crown prosecutor from West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service, said: “Sandra Mowbray and Lee Payne had clearly targeted the 91-year-old victim due to her age and vulnerability which they exploited for their own benefit.
“Targeting someone because they are older makes a crime even more serious and we are determined to bring these people to justice.”
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