'Mean thief' who stole cash from pensioners shown mercy by judge after death of her daughter

A "mean" thief who stole cash from two pensioners has been shown mercy by a judge after the tragic death of her daughter.

Jean Carr took a 75-year-old man's wallet after distracting him with chat about the mobility scooter he was using to get along the street in Hebburn, in April.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the victim had already given her a £1 after she said she needed money for cigarettes but she then sat on his knee and took his wallet, containing his bank card, driving licence and £50 cash, from a basket at the front of the vehicle.

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The victim was left "upset and confused", unable to leave the house for days and said he would have given her more money if she had asked for it.

Jean Carr.

Carr, 42, of Victoria Road East, Hebburn, admitted theft.

She also asked for a similar offence to be taken into consideration, which involved her stealing two money boxes, containing £66, from a man in his 70s.

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Carr said she took the money so she could buy drugs.

Fiona Lamb, defending, said Carr asked to be remanded in custody at a previous hearing, so she could "get away from the drugs and wants to change her life".

The court heard in recent days, while Carr was in prison on remand, her daughter passed away in tragic circumstances.

Miss Lamb said Carr, who has been married for 17 years, did not consider the tragedy as a "get out of jail free card" but has struggled to cope in custody on her own, without the support of her family at such a devastating time.

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Mr Recorder Jonathan Sandiford KC said the theft was "mean and nasty" but added that Carr has spent the equivalent of a five month jail term on remand and has been assessed as suitable for drug rehabilitation.

The judge told her: "You have recently lost a child, with all the impact that has upon a person.

"For that reason and essentially as an act of mercy the sentence I am going to impose will be a community order."

Carr was sentenced to an 18 month community order with drug rehabilitation requirements.