Thug jailed after attempted robbery on 74-year-old woman at Hartlepool cashpoint
A man who tried to snatch cash from a 74-year-old woman was foiled when she refused to let go of her money.
Gary Innes fled the scene of the attempted robbery at a cash point outside Sainsbury's in Murray Street, Hartlepool.
He was arrested after police viewed CCTV, Teesside Crown Court heard.
The victim suffered only minor physical injuries after she was knocked to the ground.
But the court heard the incident has had a 'massive impact' on her life.
"She said she had used the cash point for 20 years and usually walked to it," said Jenny Haigh, prosecuting.
"She is now too frightened to use that cash point, is much less inclined to go out than she used to, and when she does she is more inclined to use the bus."
The court heard the victim used the cash point at 11.30am, and had her hand on her money when Innes made an attempt to grab it.
"He approached from behind," said Ms Haigh.
"The victim was knocked to the ground, but kept her hand firmly on her money.
"As she was on the ground, she pushed her hand between her legs to continue shielding the money.
"Passers-by intervened and Innes fled.
"It was all over in a few seconds."
Innes, 33, of Stephen Street, Hartlepool, admitted attempted robbery on April 23.
He has a previous conviction for assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
Stephen Constantine, defending, said in mitigation: "Mr Innes had had some success in combating his heroin problem, but this day he was unable to get hold of his methadone.
"This led him to act in a way which was out of character for him.
"His last conviction was 10 years ago, there has been none since despite his involvement with heroin.
"Mr Innes is keen to take part in the restorative justice programme, if he is allowed to do so.
"He is genuinely appalled at the way he behaved that day and wishes to apologise."
Judge Howard Crowson jailed Innes for two years and eight months.
The judge told him: "The fact this robbery did not succeed is only due to the strength and determination of the victim.
"She appeared to me to be a fit and healthy 74-year-old lady, but is now reluctant to walk to places which she previously liked to walk to.
"I am prepared to accept your remorse is genuine, and your early guilty plea means you are entitled to the maximum discount off the sentence that would have applied after a trial."