‘Callous and dangerous’ robber who targeted elderly lone females in Norwich jailed
PUBLISHED: 17:10 04 April 2018 | UPDATED: 17:23 04 April 2018
A “callous and dangerous” robber behind a series of handbag snatches from vulnerable elderly women in Norwich was told he also robbed them of their independence, leaving them scared to go out alone.
Justin Campling, 40, of Bullace Road, admitted a string of seven robberies on victims, who were all over 70, with the eldest being 86-years-old and even targeted one pensioner who had suffered a stroke and was using an electric wheelchair, at Bowthorpe.
In shocking CCTV footage, shown at Norwich Crown Court, Campling was also captured pulling a woman in her 70s to the ground on Belvoir Street, close to the Belvedere Community Centre, before fleeing on his bike with her handbag.
His offending spree of seven robberies took place between October 30 and November 16 to fund his heroin addiction and took place in Belvoir Street, Ampthill Street, Adelaide Street, Grove Walk, Angel Road, Brightys Opening and Beloe Avenue.
Sentencing him to a 10 year-term with six and half years custody and three and half years extended licence, Judge Katharine Moore said it was more by luck than judgement no victim had been seriously injured, although one victim had two fingers broken.
She said some victims had also suffered from loss of confidence as a result and were much more anxious when out on their own: “You robbed these women not just of their belongings but of their independence.”
She added: “We have victims afraid to go out anywhere as a result of what happened.”
She said that she considered him a “high risk” offender who targeted vulnerable females: “In my judgement you are dangerous because you are impulsive and you target older people, often vulnerable people. It has been a matter of good fortune rather than good judgement that you have not caused serious injury.”
Lori Tucker, for Campling, said: “He knows he has done wrong. He has expressed remorse and wishes to apologise to his victims.”
She said that heroin addiction lay behind his offending but he was now trying to remain drug free.
After the case Det Insp Chris Burgess welcomed the sentence: “Campling is a dangerous offender who specifically targeted lone vulnerable females in broad daylight and in very public areas of the city.
“As a result the victims not only suffered physical injuries when they were knocked to the ground, the majority of them have also been affected psychologically.”
He added: “In one lady’s victim impact statement, she says how the robbery has taken away her independence and she now has to go to the shops with a friend as she’s too frightened to go by herself. Another has said how the attack has had an everlasting effect on her both mentally and physically and she’ll remember it for the rest of her life.”
He said he hoped the outcome of the case would bring reassurance to the community.