OAP attacks burglar with zimmer frame

A SPIRITED 97-year-old attacked a burglar with her walking frame after he and his son conned their way into her Suffolk home, a court heard.

A SPIRITED 97-year-old attacked a burglar with her walking frame after he and his son conned their way into her Suffolk home, a court heard.

Jessie South shouted at villain John Riley to “get out” as she tried to hit him with her walking frame.

She told police: “If I had been a few years younger I would have given them a good hiding.”

The pensioner had been waiting for her dinner to be delivered on July 9 when Riley knocked at the door of her Haverhill home claiming to have some money for her.


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She told police: “He pushed me backwards into the kitchen, I was scared and shaking like a leaf. I thought I was going to fall over.”

John Fenn, prosecuting at Ipswich Crown Court, said Riley, 41, told her she had a hole in her shed and her conifers needed cutting and that he could do the work.

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The victim then became aware of a shadow of someone going into her living room.

Mr Fenn said the elderly woman shouted “what have you nicked?” and both men fled from the house in Chalkston Way empty handed. The second man was Riley's son, 23-year-old Francis Maughan.

Riley, of Birmingham, and Maughan of Arbury, Cambridge who both pleaded guilty to burglary, have many alias names, the court heard.

Riley also admitted driving away from Haverhill while he was a disqualified driver and admitted a second burglary on June 1 in Birmingham.

The court heard that he went to a 92-year-old woman's home taking a child with him on the pretence that a ball had gone into the pensioner's back garden.

While the woman was distracted Riley stole her purse containing £80.

Neil Macaulay, mitigating for Riley, said his client, who has committed similar burglaries throughout the country, was a Romany gypsy from Ireland, had an unsettled upbringing with no education and had psychiatric problems.

Joanne Eley, for Maughan, said he had grown up with a father and mother who used drugs and now had a heroin habit himself which he supported by committing burglaries.

Judge Neil McKittrick said: “You have had a little business going of burgling the vulnerable and elderly but your business is going to go into recession for a number of years.”

Riley was jailed for a total of seven years and Maughan was sentenced to five years.

Judge McKittrick said vulnerable people needed to be protected and deserved to live without the fear of offenders such as Riley and Maughan.

After the hearing, Mrs South's son said: “She did pretty well coping with it. She used her zimmer frame to see them off. They messed with the wrong lady on this occasion.

“A neighbour called the police because they thought it looked suspicious and my son was around the corner. These men were just leaving the house and the police were driving down the road at the same time and picked them both up. Knowing they've been jailed is really good news, and it's my mum's 98th birthday today.”

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