A blind 91-year-old woman was bound and gagged by a ‘despicable’ female burglar who claimed to be a council worker.
The frail victim was gagged with a tea towel, had her hands tied with a belt and then dragged upstairs and ordered to lie on the bed at her Oldbury home by vile Sandra Mowbray.
The thief then raided personal belongings as the tied-up elderly victim desperately tried to wriggle free from the crude restraints.
Mowbray was today starting a 10-year jail sentence after confessing to her horrified sister and brother-in-law who turned her in to police.
The victim, who has asked not to be named, today said that she had ‘lost faith in human nature’.
Mowbray – knowing the victim was frail, registered blind and vulnerable – first approached her home at some point between June 1 and 15, claiming to be a council worker needing to read the meter.
She managed to get inside by asking to use the toilet and stole £13 while her partner Lee Payne acted as a lookout outside the house.
Mowbray, 43, then returned to the house at around 7.30pm on June 15, telling the victim she believed she had left her keys inside.
Despite being suspicious, the victim let her inside.
But after checking for keys, Mowbray demanded money, and became angry when the pensioner told her she didn’t have any.
Mr Howard Searle, prosecuting, said: “She started swinging her, twisting her about the room by the arms.”
The pensioner fell and hit her head against the kitchen door and felt blood seep from the wound, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.
Mowbray then grabbed a tea towel and wrapped it around her head, gagging her, before binding her hands with a belt.
Mowbray went upstairs to search the rooms, leaving the victim lying on the floor.
Mr Searle said: “She began to wriggle free, and managed to sit up.
“She started to shuffle and manoeuvre her way towards the door.”
But Mowbray saw her attempts to break free and grabbed her, before dragging her up the stairs and ordering her to lie on the bed.
Mowbray took £130 from a handbag, a purse containing cards and snatched the chain from around the victim’s neck.
She then told her to stay on the bed and count to 100, or ‘there would be trouble’.
Mowbray returned home, taking the blood- stained tea towel with her, and called her brother-in-law later in the night confessing to the appalling crime.
He and her sister were so horrified, they called police.
The necklace was found in Mowbray and Payne’s home in Richmond Hill, Oldbury, while £70 of the money was found on 39-year-old Payne. The rest had been spent buying alcohol.
The victim needed five stitches to the wound on her head, but is refusing to be moved out of her home, the court was told.
Mowbray pleaded guilty to robbery and theft and was jailed for 10 years. Payne pleaded guilty to theft and assisting an offender and was jailed for two-and-a-half years.
Mr Searle said: “She feels a great deal of disgust at what had happened, and an incomprehension that another woman could do this.”
Mr David Bratt, defending Mowbray, told the court that she had gone to the house to steal and never intended to use force while Mr Michael Anning, defending Payne, said he never entered the house and was only involved because he wanted money to buy alcohol.
Judge John Edwards told the pair it was a ‘despicable ‘crime.