Drug addict worked in care home before robbing elderly woman of handbag at Hartlepool Marina
An out of work carer mugged an elderly woman of her handbag when she was out for a walk on a sunny day at Hartlepool Marina.
Derek Lynch, 53, snatched the bag with such force that he snapped the strap and caused the 76-year-old victim to lurch violently forward.
The robbery took place in broad daylight near the bandstand on Maritime Avenue on June 8 while the victim was enjoying a morning stroll with her husband.
Drug user Lynch, who had recently worked in a care home but been laid off, had said hello to the couple just a few minutes earlier when he rode past them on his mountain bike.
But he reappeared next to them with his hood up and wearing a black face mask before grabbing the woman’s bag which was wrapped around her hand.
Jenny Haigh, prosecuting at Teesside Crown Court, said: “He pulled the bag from her with such force that the strap snapped.
"[The victim] was pulled forward in a sudden violent motion as he pulled the bag from her.
"She began to scream her husband described in a hysterical manner. He was shocked and concerned for her safety.”
As Lynch went to get on his bike and ride away she screamed “he’s pinched my bag” attracting the attention of passers by.
They intervened retrieving the bag and held on to Lynch until the police arrived.
The court heard he had taken heroin substitute methadone and tablets and could not remember the robbery which he later admitted.
The victim told police she felt “shattered” adding: “I can’t believe someone has said hello and then do what he’s done to me.”
Lynch, of Admiral Way, Hartlepool Marina, came to England from Ireland, where he had a number of robberies on his record, for drug rehabilitation.
He worked on building sites and in a care home but relapsed after lockdown and the death of his brother.
Christine Egerton, mitigating, said: “Mr Lynch is extremely remorseful, not only because ironically the job he had just before this event was working as a carer for the elderly in a care home.
"He’s thoroughly ashamed of himself.”
Jailing Lynch for 37 months, Recorder Alex Menary told him: “This was fairly brazen offending that took place in broad daylight in a popular area of Hartlepool.”