81-year-old woman attacked in her Sunderland home by drug-fuelled robber posing as window cleaner

James Nanson
James Nanson

A robber who posed as a window cleaner to con cash from the elderly left an 81-year-old woman bruised when he "pushed and shoved her" during a raid at her home.

James Nanson became angry when the victim, who lived alone, refused to hand over money when he turned up at her door, high on drugs, in Sunderland on March 8.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the 28-year-old raider took the pensioner's handbag, which contained £70 in cash as well as personal items, when he left the house.

The woman, who had wanted to attend court to see the raider jailed but was unwell, said in a victim statement, which was read out on her behalf: "This crime has had a horrible effect on me. I often sit and cry about things I never used to cry about.

"Little things that didn't used to upset me now upset me a lot.

"I often think about how he got hold of me and pushed and shoved me around and it made me feel useless.

"I tried to stick up for myself."

The court heard the victim, who has lived at her home for 55 years, was left with bruising to both of her arms after the raid by Nanson, who has served a previous prison sentence earlier this year for conning cash from the elderly for windows he had not cleaned.

Miss Dowling said the woman had answered her door shortly after teatime on March 8 and was deliberately targeted.

She told the court: "She saw a man she recognised as having been at her address about two weeks before, asking for money for window cleaning.

"She states that the man, again, asked her for money for cleaning her windows, which she refused to give him because he wasn't her window cleaner and there was no evidence her windows had been cleaned.

"She said the defendant reacted angrily.

"He grabbed her, using both of his arms to hold both of her upper arms and pushed her, with force, back.

"She said she did not lose her balance totally but she had to grab on to him to stay on her feet.

"He was facing her and again he shoved her. This time, into the living room.

"A third, forceful shove from the defendant pushed her back into her arm chair."

The court heard as soon as Nanson spotted the woman's handbag at the side of her chair, he took it and left.

Blood on the woman's cardigan was linked to Nanson, who had an inury to his hand, through DNA.

Mr recorder Euan Duff sentenced Nanson to four years and eight months behind bars.

The judge told him: "It is clear that, having been to her home, you obviously must have known the sort of age that she was.

"It seems to me, this is quite clearly deliberate targeting on that basis.

"It is deliberate targeting of an elderly woman."

Jamie Adams, defending, said Nanson is remorseful for what he did and is now drug free.

Mr Adams said Nanson has used drink and drugs to cope with mental health problems, which has led him to develop drug induced psychosis, which he has now sought help for.

Mr Adams added: "He is very aware of the harm and the hurt he caused to the complainant in this case."

Nanson, of Grafton Street, Sunderland, had pleaded guilty to robbery.