A young woman befriended an elderly pensioner after moving into the flat opposite his Coventry home – and then stole his cheque book and car key while visiting him.
But after hearing of how long Casey McGill had spent in custody since her arrest for the mean thefts, a judge at Warwick Crown Court gave her a sentence that resulted in her release.
McGill (22) of Harefield Road, Ball Hill, Coventry, had pleaded guilty to two charges of theft from her 88-year-old victim – but denied a third charge of then stealing his car.
Those pleas were accepted, and she was jailed for 24 weeks which, because of the time she had spent on remand, meant she would be released from prison straight away.
Prosecutor Paul Dhami said the elderly victim lived on his own in the flat where he has lived for 24 years, and he spoke to McGill when she moved into the flat opposite in January.
Within a very short period of time she borrowed something from him, which was never returned, and began to visit his flat ‘for a chat.’
He welcomed the company, but on one occasion he found her rummaging through a chest of drawers where he kept his car key and other items.
The pensioner later realised that his car key and cheque book were missing, so contacted his bank to stop the cheques.
His Ford Fiesta was also stolen from outside the flats using the key, but it was accepted that McGill had not been responsible for taking it.
When McGill, whose previous convictions included a theft from a dwelling, was arrested, the police searched her flat and found the stolen cheque book, added Mr Dhami.
Niall Skinner, defending, conceded that the victim was vulnerable because of his age, and said that McGill, who was appearing over a video link from HMP Peterborough, had prepared a letter she had hoped to hand in.
“What she would want to say is that she is extremely sorry for what happened. It’s not the way she wants to continue with her life.
“She, for the first time, has welcomed a prison sentence, because it has helped her. She has done all the drug courses available and wants to continue to be drug-free and move away from Coventry when she is released from prison.”
Mr Skinner added that McGill had been in custody for twelve-and-a-half weeks, and Judge Sylvia de Bertodano observed: “So if she received a sentence of 24 weeks today, she would be released.”
Sentencing McGill, Judge de Bertodano told her: “He was clearly vulnerable, 88 years of age and living alone, and you took his cheque book and car keys.
“Very fortunately you did not use his cheque book; and his car went, but no-one says you took it.
“It is a serious offence if you prey on someone vulnerable like he is.
“But if you stay away from drugs you have a very good chance of being able to live a normal life. You have your whole life ahead of you.”