Mugger twice targeted women with young children in a bid to get cash
A mugger who tried to kill himself four times after his arrest was given a reduced jail sentence.
The judge said that Craig Waller, 32, had made serious attempts on his life after he targeted a grandmother and a young mother minutes apart.
He had also written two cards saying sorry to his victims, Teesside Crown Court was told.
Alex Bousfield, defending, said that Waller was “incredibly sorry” for what he did near Asda in Billingham on September 14.
He was in debt after becoming addicted to cocaine following the breakdown of his relationship, and he had lost his job and his home with his partner and her two children.
Mr Bousfield said: “He is incredibly sorry for what he has done.
”He could not feel worse about it.”
Prosecutor Christopher Baker said that Waller aroused suspicions when he was seen hanging about outside a bank, and then he followed a woman who was shopping with her 13-year-old granddaughter.
He suddenly leaned over and he grabbed at her purse, but she was able to hang on to it.
Then he targeted a woman who was with her seven-year-old daughter and he snatched her purse from her hand. The woman attempted to photograph him with her phone but she failed to do so.
A member of the public posted a message about the incidents on Facebook, and on September 17, Waller walked into the Middlesbrough Police custody suite and he admitted what he had done.
Waller denied using force, but he said he committed the offences because he owed debts and he had been threatened.
Mr Baker added: “The Crown say that he had chosen women with young children with them.”
Mr Bousefield said that Waller had made four attempts on his life since then.
He added: “He even tried to hang himself, he felt so bad about it.”
Judge Stephen Ashurst said that both women had spoken about the impact upon them and they now felt paranoid about going out. The children had also been affected.
The judge said that he would have passed a two-year jail sentence if Waller had been convicted after a trial, but there was substantial mitigation because of the remorse that he had shown.
Waller, of Kennedy Gardens, Billingham, was jailed for 12 months after he pleaded guilty to robbery and attempted robbery.