Addict jailed for stealing cash from woman in horrifying Hartlepool street mugging

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A DRUG addict mugged a woman of her handbag just moments after she had withdrawn £200 from the post office for a disabled friend.

Sarah Graham, 35, pushed the unsuspecting victim to the ground and ran off with her bag in broad daylight.

The shocked victim bravely tried to chase after Graham but she escaped.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the attack has left the victim too frightened to go out alone.

She was robbed by Graham in Tower Street, Hartlepool, after she had withdrawn the cash from the post office in Middleton Grange Shopping Centre.

David Crook, prosecuting, said: “As she was walking on Tower Street towards Huckelhoven Way the victim was suddenly pushed from behind forcing her to the ground.

“The defendant grabbed her handbag from her arm, snatched it and ran off.

“Adrenaline seems to have kicked in and the victim bravely chased after the defendant for a short time before giving up the chase.”

Police pinpointed Graham after a painstaking search of local CCTV which showed her before and after the robbery.

It showed her disposing of the bag at Hartlepool Railway Station after taking the £200 and putting a scarf which had been around her neck over her head.

In a statement the victim, who suffered cuts and grazes, described how the mugging, at 3pm on Monday, December 10, had affected her.

She said it was instinct and “pure adrenaline” that made her chase after Graham but added: “When I got home I couldn’t function normally. I was in a mess.”

She added: “I couldn’t believe what had happened to me. I still do not go out on my own. I no longer feel safe walking along the street.

“The person who did this to me didn’t just physically hurt me, they have affected my whole life.”

Graham, of Stockton Road, Hartlepool, admitted robbery.

Jim Withyman, mitigating, said it was an opportunistic crime and said Graham was willing to apologise to the victim in person if they wished.

Mr Withyman said: “She understands how frightening it must have been for the victim.

“She is very sorry.”

He appealed for the prison sentence to be suspended so Graham could get help for her drug problem.

But sentencing her to two years and four months prison, Judge Peter Bowers said: “Street robbery is a serious matter and despite what your barrister says I really can’t suspend this sentence.

“The victim had only minor injuries but when you have heard, as I have, the impact statement it’s quite obvious the effect on her has been quite profound.”