A DEMENTIA sufferer was forced out of her home of more than 20 years after being targeted by the same cruel thief twice in a week.
Heartless Jordan Barnes stole the pensioner’s bank cards while doing “odd-jobs” for her in early August last year.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the 30-year-old thief, who has 161 previous convictions, helped himself to more than £1,000 from her bank account.
Within days, Barnes was back at the victim’s home, where he took more than £100 in cash from her handbag.
The 68-year-old victim’s family have now used almost all of her entire £40,000 life savings to move her into supported accommodation, and keep her safe from falling prey to similar cruel criminals in future.
Barnes, of Devonshire Tower, Sunderland, admitted theft and burglary and was jailed for four-and-a-half years.
Judge Penny Moreland told him: “She is a lady who worked hard all her life, paid her taxes, saved for her old age and was living, despite her illness, independently.
“Since you stole from her she has had to move into supported accommodation and that has taken much of her life savings.
“She would have become more ill in any event, but what you did was have the effect of hastening that decline.
“You have caused her and her family great upset.
“You have expressed remorse and I accept that, I believe you are ashamed of what you did. You certainly need to be.
“These were appalling offences to commit against an old lady.”
The court heard Barnes was given a suspended sentence for unrelated offences in the days between the two crimes against the pensioner.
Prosecutor Gavin Doig told the court the victim’s niece has branded the offences against her aunt as “cowardly and unforgiveable”.
She said in a statement: “She had routines, would visit family and friends and the social club on a weekly basis, as she had done every week for over 37 years.
“She loved this and looked forward to it all week. She took great care in her appearance. Since the crimes she has not been back.”
Vic Laffey, defending, said Barnes had not appreciated the woman was so ill when he targeted her and was “deeply affected” when he learned the truth.
He added: “He deeply regrets the distress he has caused this lady.
“He feels regret at the situation this lady has found herself in as a consequence of his offending.”
The court heard Barnes has had a “horrendous” life and started taking drugs at an early age.