Couple jailed after mugging pensioner, 80

Kathleen O'Neill
Kathleen O'Neill

A couple have been jailed after an 80-year-old man was mugged on his way home from a night out.

Wigan and Leigh Magistrates Court heard how the victim had been walking home along Ormskirk Road, Newtown, after having spent the evening at a local social club.

Anthony Connor

Anthony Connor

He was approached by Kathleen O’Neill, 28, who engaged him in conversation before putting her arms around him and hugging him.

O’Neill then put her hand into his back pocket and removed the contents, a £20 note, a lottery ticket and a betting slip.

The victim tried to get his belongings back and a short struggle ensued but O’Neill broke free and ran off with the stolen goods.

O’Neill and her partner, Anthony Connor, both of Elmsbury Street, Bryn, were caught after they went into William Hill bookmakers on Mesnes Street and tried to cash the victim’s winning betting slip on January 25.

Staff at the bookmakers recognised the victim’s handwriting and refused the payment.

The pair left empty handed but they were later identified from the betting shops CCTV which was matched with the original incident that had also been caught on a CCTV system.

The court heard that the victim has been badly affected by this incident and has stated that he is now afraid to go out alone at night.

O’Neill, 28, pleaded guilty to theft from a person and fraud by false representation at Wigan and Leigh Magistrates Court and was jailed for 24 weeks on Monday.

Her partner in crime Connor, 28, also pleaded guilty but to handling stolen goods and fraud by false representation and eight weeks in prison as well as a further four weeks to run consecutively for two unrelated shoplifting offences.

The incident is one of a spate in the borough which have seen elderly and vulerable people targeted by callous criminals.

Last week, a 68-year-old woman’s house, on Upholland Road, Billinge, was burgled and a number of items stolen, including jewellery and a small round mother-of-pearl box containing ashes.

The week before, a wallet containing cashw as taken from a 90-year-old man’s house in Orrell during a distraction burglary on February 9.

The victim, who has limited eyesight, let the thief into his house after he asked for a bucket of water to fill a radiator.

Wigan Council has also warned residents to be wary of door-to-door salesman as well after an elderly man in Shevington paid £500 for work on his roof that was shabby and unfinished.

Ring police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 to report crimes or if you can help police with any of their enquiries.