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Druggie Halesowen mum stole elderly woman's savings
3:22pm Tuesday 16th October 2012 in News
A DRUG-taking Halesowen mother has escaped imprisonment for stealing £400 from an 84-year-old woman - despite a judge describing the crime as “despicable.”
Judge Martin Walsh told Samantha Bowater her crime merited a 32-month jail sentence and society would expect her to spend a substantial length of time behind bars, but he was persuaded to let her stay free.
The mother-of-two, aged 32, admitted burglary and theft when she appeared at Wolverhampton Crown Court.
Bowater, of New John Street, was given a two year community Order coupled with two years supervision, told to attend the drug rehabilitation programme and to carry out 200 hours unpaid work.
The court heard how she was a regular visitor to the block of flats where her own grandmother was a resident and the 84-year-old woman spotted her snatching her purse after she gained entry into her home.
The pensioner saw her walking out of the flat and when questioned, Bowater returned with the purse only to start searching drawers and cupboards.
Nicholas Smith, prosecuting, said the victim was confused and frightened, but she was able to see Bowater take something out of a drawer and put it into her pocket.
It was later discovered she had stolen £400 and Bowater was quickly identified as the offender from CCTV footage.
After being caught taking the purse she had befriended the pensioner before taking the opportunity to steal the £400.
Mr Walsh said: "Society would expect anyone who does this to be given a substantial period in prison."
He added: “These were thoroughly mean and despicable offences.”
But he said he had just been persuaded to give the drug addict the chance to keep her freedom as he warned her: "If you do not take this chance you can expect to go to prison."
Robert Cowley, defending, said Bowater, a woman of previous good character was "deeply ashamed" of her behaviour He said she had debt problems, suffered from ill-health and, coupled with the lack of work, had started taking drugs.