Street mugger jailed for four years

Rebecca Oxley
Rebecca Oxley
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A VIOLENT heroin addict who mugged a pensioner and left her lying in the middle of the road has been locked up for four years.

Burnley Crown Court heard how, when Rebecca Oxley was arrested and questioned after the attack on Irene Bracewell (75), she told police she didn’t care how old the victim was or how injured she was, and seemed to think it was Mrs Bracewell’s fault for not letting go of her purse.

Mrs Bracewell, who had gone into Nelson town centre shopping at 9 a.m. because she thought it would be quiet, suffered nasty bruises and grazes.

The hearing was told Oxley, a drug addict for 20 years, was detained by two passers- by, who chased her and kept hold of her until police arrived. The purse was recovered.

The defendant (37), of Cross Bank, Padiham - but at the time living on Smith Street, Nelson - admitted robbery on March 24th.

Miss Sarah Statham (prosecuting) said Mrs Bracewell had just been to the cash machine and had her purse in her hand.

As she was on a pedestrian crossing, the defendant approached her and asked her if she had any change. She said she hadn’t. A short time later, the victim felt someone was behind her, the person tried to grab her purse and Mrs Bracewell struggled. Oxley used a lot of force and the victim tried to hang on to her purse.

Miss Statham said Mrs Bracewell was pulled over and fell face forward in the middle of the road, grazing her knees. Oxley made off with the purse.

The prosecutor said David Smith was driving his van past when he saw the robbery. He chased the defendant and was joined by David Marshall. They kept hold of her while police were called.

Officers arrived a short time later, the defiant had been relatively compliant, but as soon as the police vehicle arrived, Mr Smith said Oxley started struggling and said: “Let go of me. I’ll bite. I will scratch you.” Police found she had four uncapped needles in her pocket.

Miss Statham said the defendant was interviewed and did not express any remorse. The court was told the defendant was said to have a drug user’s record. She had a previous conviction for robbing a 60-year-old man.

Mr Richard Taylor, for Oxley, said she had had a significant drug problem for 20 years, had been desperate for cash and accepted she had “sunk as low as she had done” to behave as she did.

The solicitor continued : “The unpleasant comments she might have made in interview were while she was withdrawing. In the cold light of sobriety, she shows some remorse today. She does, through me, wish to apologise to the court and to the victim.”

Mr Taylor, who added Oxley was “inadequate in many ways and pathetic in the true sense of the word, said her life was going nowhere at all and she had tried to live day to day to acquire heroin to keep her going. He added: “It is not of her nature to be violent.”

Sentencing, Judge Beverley Lunt told Oxley she had a “dreadful record”, and said of the victim: “She was left shocked, she was left hurt, she was left bleeding and you just didn’t care. You ran away.”

The judge continued: “In your interview with the police, you showed not one jot of remorse for your victim.”

Judge Lunt made rewards of £250 each from public funds for Mr Smith and Mr Marshall for their “bravery and public spiritedness” in intervening and detaining Oxley.

After the court hearing, DC Dave Greenwood said: “Oxley targeted and preyed on an elderly and vulnerable member of the public. She showed no remorse for her despicable actions and I am pleased with the sentence she has been given.

“I would like to praise the bravery shown by the members of the public who chased after Oxley. Their courageous actions undoubtedly helped officers to make a quick arrest and secure a successful conviction at court.

“The local community should be proud that people like this live among them. They showed true compassion and should be commended for their actions.”