A DESPICABLE robber who tied up and gagged a 78-year-old widow during a terrifying robbery in her own home has been caged for 13 years.
Career criminal Anthony Edward Wahab was given an extend jail sentence at Teesside Crown Court after the judge deemed him a danger to the public.
The 43-year-old, who has two similar attacks against lone pensioners on his record, deliberately targeted the widow after taking a “deadly cocktail” of drugs.
The victim, who has had to move out her home of more than 50 years, branded him “evil”.
He sneaked into her home in Lister Street on Saturday, January 26, after offering to clear snow outside her house.
The victim felt sorry for him and went to get some money, but when she returned he had disappeared.
But she was confronted by Wahab upstairs who demanded to know where her money was.
She told him where her bag, containing £40, was when he threatened to hurt her pet Yorkshire terrier.
At one stage the victim bravely tried to escape, but Wahab knocked her to the ground before he tied her ankles and wrists and gagged her with bandages.
After he fled, she called her family and told them what had happened.
Sue Jacobs, prosecuting, said: “This was a lady who was traumatised. Deeply unpleasant threats were made against her pet which clearly caused her great distress and she was then tied up and gagged.
“As a result of which she feels unable to return to her home. It has clearly had a significant impact on her life.
“Prior to this she was someone who lived independently and got on with her life with some support from her family.
“Now she has been out of her home for many months and it’s not clear wether she will ever feel she can go back.”
The victim suffered cuts and bruises, but the court heard she may never recover from the emotional impact of the robbery.
In a statement read in court the victim said: “I was frightened. He was just so rough and nasty.
“It has affected me badly. I’m determined to move on with my life and put this behind me.
“I think this man is evil for what he has put me through.”
Wahab, of Rydal Street, Hartlepool, committed the offence after taking the heroin substitute methadone combined with numerous diazepam tranquillisers.
He was arrested within a day and later admitted robbery after originally denying it.
He has numerous house burglaries on his record starting when he was a teenager.
In 2002 he was jailed for six years after he and another crook ransacked the home of a 90-year-old woman in Seaton Carew when he again made threats.
And in 2000, he was caught inside another pensioner’s home after knocking on doors offing to do gardening.
John Ellwood, mitigating, said the drugs had lowered Wahab’s inhibitions, but added no weapon was used and he did not wear a mask.
Sentencing Wahab, Judge Simon Bourne-Arton said: “You deliberately targeted the home of that elderly lady.
“You threatened her with that which was most dear to her in many ways, violence towards her dog.
“This was as bad a case of robbery as many can envisage bearing in mind the nature of the complainant.
“The effect of what you did was to cause her physical injury, but of course the greater impact to her was it has completely changed her life.
“What years remain to her are now blighted by her thoughts and recollections of what you did to her and she may never recover from that.
“I consider that you are a dangerous individual.”
Investigating officers, Detective Constable Rebecca Hudspeth and Detective Constable Jason MacTaggart, of Hartlepool CID, welcomed the sentence.
They added: “The incident had a significant effect on the victim and her family.
“Our thoughts are with them and we hope that the result will help them as they recover from this despicable crime.”