A CALLOUS couple have been jailed for a total of 17 years after targeting a man with learning difficulties in a terrifying robbery in his own home.
The vicious attack by Donna Ramsey and boyfriend Lee Tobin left their victim too scared to live independently and fearing they would return to target him again.
Ramsey and Tobin forced their way into their victim’s Hartlepool flat and even ripped out the telephone line at the property so he could not call for help.
The 50-year-old was repeatedly punched and kicked by Tobin, 33, held in a headlock until he fell unconscious, and his flat was smashed up.
The despicable pair then threatened to come back for him if he contacted police.
The incident started after Ramsey, 37, knocked on the victim’s door and claimed to know him.
Despite the victim insisting he did not know her, she walked past him.
Once inside, she started to loosen his trousers in order to take his wallet from his pocket, but when he put up a struggle, Ramsey shouted to Tobin, who ran inside.
Anthony Dunne, prosecuting, said: “What followed was a violent assault on the victim.”
While Tobin was attacking the victim, Ramsey took £200 from a moneybox.
The victim briefly grabbed it back, but Tobin grabbed him in a headlock, causing him to pass out for a short time.
When he came around the cash was gone, along with £40 from his wallet and his watch had been taken from his wrist.
Mr Dunne added that towards the end of the ordeal the victim heard on of the defendants say “get the spray out of your pocket” and then also heard one say “get a knife”.
As they left, Tobin attempted to lock the victim inside, but he ran after them, grabbed the key and called his family for help on his mobile phone.
The victim now wants to live in warden-controlled accommodation after 15 years of independent living.
Mr Dunne said: “He says he doesn’t feel safe in his own home any more and fears his attackers will come back. He said although the physical injuries had cleared up, this is something that will live with him for the rest of his life.”
Tobin and Ramsey both admitted robbery on June 7.
Sarah Mallett, mitigating for Tobin, said he misread the situation when he saw the victim with his trousers unfastened and did not know the victim was vulnerable.
She said: “He jumped to what was completely the wrong conclusion. Mr Tobin is ashamed of his behaviour. He knows he deserves a custodial sentence of some length.”
Ian Brook, mitigating for Ramsey, said she had drunk five bottles of wine, taken diazapam and heroin on the day of the robbery.
She said: “None of that is an excuse for the appalling behaviour that followed. She bitterly regrets it and she appreciates that she took advantage of a vulnerable person which will have a long term effect.”
Ramsey apologised to the victim in a letter to the court.
Tobin, of Arnold Grove, Hartlepool, was jailed for nine years and Ramsey, of Ivy Grove, Hartlepool, was jailed for eight years.
Judge Peter Bowers said: “This was a vicious mean attack in a man’s home which had the affect of devastating his independence.
“He is a man who has struggle throughout his adult life to get independence and you Ramsey targeted him as a soft touch and you were determined to get money by hook or by crook.
“Both of you were high on drink and drugs and looking for money for more.
“It saddens me that this man is now looking for warden accommodation.”