'I'm lucky to be alive' - Robbery victim, 81, speaks after attacker jailed
PUBLISHED: 19:21 25 April 2019 | UPDATED: 20:05 25 April 2019
An 81-year-old woman who was the victim of a vicious robbery on her way to play bingo in Ipswich said justice had been done after her attacker was jailed for eight years.
Courageous Patricia May, who was grabbed from behind and swung to the ground during the attack, bravely read a statement describing the devastating effect the robbery had on her during 32-year-old Rhys Burroughs' sentencing hearing at Ipswich Crown Court.
Following the hearing, Mrs May said “he hasn't won” – and vowed to carry on playing bingo.
Sentencing Burroughs, Judge John Devaux thanked Mrs May for reading her impact statement to the court and told Burroughs he hoped he had listened carefully to the effect his attack had on her.
Burroughs, who was staying with a friend in Kelly Road, Ipswich, denied robbing Mrs May on November 5, 2017, but was convicted by a 10-2 majority verdict after a three day trial.
He had previously admitted burglary at a house in Cemetery Lane, Ipswich on May 27 last year during which a wallet, bags, electrical items, bank cards and PINs and car keys were stolen.
The court heard that Mrs May had regularly played bingo at Westgate Social Club in Victoria Street, Ipswich since 1992 and had driven there on the evening of the robbery.
After parking her car she was placing the strap of her handbag across her body when she became aware of a man “loitering” nearby and as she shut her door she was grabbed round the neck from behind.
Burroughs tried to grab Mrs May's handbag and during the struggle she was swung round and fell to the ground.
She managed to get to her feet and raise the alarm but was left shaking from “head to foot” from her ordeal.
Following the robbery Mrs May's bank card was used to make a number of purchases by a friend of Burroughs.
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The victims of the Cemetery Lane burglary were spending their first night in their new home when Burroughs committed the offence, the court heard.
Ramesh Sharma for Burroughs said his client had committed offences to fund his drug habit but was now drug free after spending five months in custody.
'I feel lucky to be alive' – Victim's emotional statement
Robbery victim Patricia May bravely chose to read her victim personal statement detailing the effect the offence had on her in court.
In the statement she described attending bingo at the Westgate Ward Social Club since 1992 and said that since the “brutal” attack she no longer felt safe in her own home.
“I have bad dreams at night and am extremely paranoid,” she said.
“This has caused me to lose a lot of the confidence that I had in abundance prior to the attack.
“I often relive the attack and play things over and over in my mind and feel lucky to be alive.
“As a result of the vicious and unprovoked attack that I was subjected to my life, and that of my family, will never be the same again.
“The attack shocked me, my friends and my family and has destroyed my confidence.
She added: “I feel the freedoms I enjoyed have been taken away from me and nobody will ever truly understand the lasting and irreversible effect that the incident has had on me.
“I hope the person responsible hears this statement and understands the far reaching impact of his actions.”