The ‘friend’ who duped three OAPs

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A heartless Scarborough woman stole more than £2,000 from three elderly women she had “befriended”.

Trudy Hall, 35, rifled through the victims’ belongings in their own homes.

She even had a “tug-of-war” with one pensioner as she tried to steal her handbag, containing £1,000.

The kind Scarborough pensioners – one of whom was wheelchair-bound and suffered from psychosis – had invited Hall into their homes, but she repaid them cruelly.

Hall, who denied the offences, appeared at York Crown Court for sentence on Friday after a jury had previously convicted her of the despicable thefts.

Prosecuting barrister Rob Galley said the victims were all friends in their 80s who had known Hall since she was girl.

Hall, of Gildercliffe, had often gone round to their homes to sponge cigarettes and money off them.

On July 28, she visited two of the victims, who lived together, asking for more cash and tobacco. They gave her £10 and a pack of cigarettes, but Hall returned a second time and asked for more.

One of the women, who were both named in court, said she didn’t have any cash until her pension came in, but when a carer later visited the address she noticed that one of their purses had been emptied of £1,100 in savings and Disability Living Allowance. Hall had also taken £15 from a coffee table.

She then turned her sights on an 83-year-old woman who she also knew. Heroin addict Hall, who was on a cider binge, went round to the victim’s home in Maple Drive.

Mr Galley said that the woman, who was partially-sighted and relied on a carer, felt sorry for Hall and let her in, as she often did.

They were sat talking in the living room when Hall suddenly broke off and went into the bedroom.

The pensioner, who was also named, followed Hall and saw her grab her handbag, which had £1,000 inside.

She took the bag off Hall, but later that afternoon the boozed-up thief tried to prise it from her grasp, leading to a “tug-of-war” before the defendant ran off with the money.

Hall was arrested shortly afterwards when police found her with £429 in cash, but the bulk of the stolen money was missing. Hall had collapsed on the floor after overdosing on drugs and was taken to hospital.

The court heard that Hall - who is now on a prescription of methadone, a substance used to wean heroin addicts off the killer drug - had a lengthy criminal record with convictions for assault, shoplifting, drugs possession and burglary.

In September 2013, she was given a suspended prison sentence after taking more than £200 from the homes of two Scarborough men, one of whom was disabled.

Hall’s latest crimes against the elderly women were described as “incredibly mean” by her own defence counsel, who described the defendant as “rather a sad individual”.

Jailing Hall for 14 months, judge Colin Burn told her: “These were nasty offences against elderly ladies who were trying to be kind to you.”

Mr Burn made a 10-year restraining order banning Hall from contacting or approaching the victims. Hall was also made to pay £210 compensation to each of the pensioners who had £1,000 stolen, plus £9 to the third victim who had a small amount stolen.