Purse thief took photos of dead son – just hours after court hearing for earlier crimes

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A SERIAL thief who stole precious pictures of a grieving mum’s dead son has been jailed.

Victoria Wilson took Heather Lorimer’s purse after she put it down near the till during a shopping trip to Aldi in Sunderland on March 21.

Newcastle Crown Court heard, as well as cash and bank cards, irreplaceable pictures of Mrs Lorimer’s late son were inside, which have never been recovered.

Mum-of-four Wilson, who has 42 previous convictions for theft, had been dealt with by magistrates earlier that day for shoplifting offences, where she was given a deferred sentence so she could prove she could stay out of trouble.

The 26-year-old was already on a suspended sentence for earlier thefts.

Within hours, she and two pals stole 20 bottles of whiskey from the Aldi store, and Wilson made off with Mrs Lorimer’s purse by claiming it was hers after someone else handed it in to staff.

Prosecutor Emma Dowling told the court: “The purse contained £30 but, more significantly, personal items.

“There were bank cards and some photographs which the owner states were of her adopted son, who was disabled and has, since the photographs were taken, passed away and were, therefore, irreplaceable to her. As far as I’m aware, those items have never been recovered.”

Wilson was arrested after police viewed the shop CCTV.

She admitted theft charges when she appeared before magistrates on April 28. The following day, she stole £80-worth of candles from a card shop while wearing a blonde wig in a bid to conceal her identity.

Judge Brian Forster QC jailed Wilson, of Edward Street, Hetton, for 10 months.

The judge said: “Unfortunately, the loss of that purse has really upset the owner of it because of the sentimental photographs which were within it.

“I accept when you took the purse, you did not know there would be any photographs within it. You keep offending because you are addicted to drugs.”

Jamie Adams, defending, said Wilson has struggled with heroin addiction for many years.

Mr Adams said Wilson has gained qualifications while in custody, and is on a methadone programme in a bid to quit her drug habit.