TWO mothers who carried out a “shocking and mean” raid at a vulnerable pensioner’s home in South Tyneside have been jailed.
Lois Upton and Kayla Banton tried to confuse their 66-year-old victim by calling him “uncle” when they turned up at his sheltered accommodation flat in Jarrow, and even gave him a cuddle when they left, after stealing his cash and television.
During the raid, which terrified the Parkinson’s Disease sufferer, the pair humiliated the victim by making outrageous sexual suggestions while searching his home as he looked on helpless.
A tin containing £150 in cash he had been saving for the arrival of a friend’s new baby was taken.
The ordeal left the man scared to answer his door, and has had a drastic effect on his daily life and health.
The court heard tremors which the pensioner suffered as a result of his illness have got worse because of what happened to him.
At Newcastle Crown Court, Judge Brian Forster QC jailed Upton, 22, for two years and eight months and Banton, 25, for three years and four months.
Judge Forster said the raid was “shocking and mean” and added: “You took advantage of his vulnerability.
“The shocking feature of this is that you were not only wanting to steal from him but also you intended, and did, humiliate him within his own home. This was heartless offending.”
Upton, of no fixed address, but who comes from Jarrow, and Banton, of Leam Gardens, Pelaw, both admitted burglary.
The court heard the victim had been at home alone when the pair rang his buzzer.
Susan Hirst, prosecuting, told the court: “Upton approached him and called him uncle, she then walked straight past him.”
The court heard the pair walked through his rooms and helped themselves.
Miss Hirst added: “Upton came back into the room and, bizarrely, hugged him. The two women then left.”
In a victim impact statement, the pensioner said he has lost his confidence completely and added: “As a result of this, I am always very worried at home when I think about how easily they just walked in and stole from me. I felt utterly powerless to stop them.”
Graeme Cook, defending Upton, said the mum-of-one turned to crime as a result of drug use, which she has been taking steps to overcome.
Vic Laffey, defending Banton, who also has one child, said: “She has gone from being a petty criminal to committing a very serious offence.
“She has shown appropriate remorse and is very keen to get her life back on track.”
The court heard Banton has also had drug problems.