Thief stole precious jewellery from 86-year-old widow who let her into home to use toilet
A cruel thief stole precious jewellery from an 86-year-old widow who had allowed her into her home to use the toilet.
The pensioner recognised Vickie Gillespie from around the local area and so let her in when she asked.
Newcastle Crown Court heard after the 38-year-old left the house the pensioner realised £1,300 of property was gone.
The missing items included a watch that belonged to the victim's mother and a Nomination bracelet with four precious charms.
Gillespie had passed the stolen property to a loan shark as payment for a debt.
In a heart-breaking impact statement, the victim said: "I am an 86-year-old female who lies alone since the passing of my husband.
"Had he been here this wouldn't have happened.
"I now feel I'm locked inside the house.
"I am terrified to go out and I am terrified to stay in.
"Now, I don't trust anyone."
The pensioner received a £1,300 insurance payout but said the sentimental items can never be replaced.
The court heard the victim had been sitting in the dining room at her home in Easington Lane, on July 21 and had her patio doors open.
Gillespie approached and spoke to her for a few minutes then asked to use the toilet.
She was allowed in and spent around 15 minutes upstairs before she left without saying goodbye.
It was later that night the victim realised her property had been taken.
Gillespie, of George Street, Hetton, who has convictions for 42 previous offences, admitted theft from a dwelling.
Mr Recorder Keir Monteith QC told Gillespie, who has spent time in custody on remand, that the offence was "disgusting".
The judge told Gillespie: "She has lives in that house almost half a century and never, ever felt unsafe until now.
"She is scared to live there, in constant fear you or your friends are going to come back.
"She feels betrayed and doesn't trust anyone anymore."
Gillespie was sentenced to 20 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with programme requirements and a lifelong restraining order to keep her away from the victim.
The court heard she has now told her family about the debt problems she had and has accepted their support.
Tony Cornberg, defending, said debt was the cause of the "desperate and mean offence" and Gillespie was being threatened to pay back an "extortionate rate".