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Homeless man handed himself into police to admit a robbery he carried out four years earlier

PUBLISHED: 15:44 26 July 2019 | UPDATED: 15:44 26 July 2019

Homeless man Mark Bruneel . Picture: Ian Burt

Homeless man Mark Bruneel . Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2018

A homeless man handed himself into Great Yarmouth police station and confessed to robbing a pensioner of her handbag four years earlier.

Mark Bruneel, 27, grabbed the handbag of the woman, who was 74 at the time, and pulled her to the ground before making off with her bag, Norwich Crown Court heard.

The bag contained £80 cash and rings including her engagement and eternity ring.

Martin Ivory, prosecuting, said that the victim, who was on holiday with her husband, suffered cuts and bruising.

He said the robbery happened in July 2015 and although Bruneel was a main suspect there was insufficient evidence at the time, so it was decided to take no further action.

However, on April 17 this year, Bruneel suddenly walked into Great Yarmouth police station to hand himself in and confessed to the unsolved crime which happened four years ago.

Mr Ivory said: "He said he wanted to confess to the matter."

He later told probation that he admitted the robbery because he felt his drug use was getting out of hand.

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Mr Ivory said that the victim was asked if she wanted to make a statement about the robbery but she declined as she said it now happened four years ago.

Bruneel, of no fixed address, admitted the robbery in July 2015, and was jailed nine months.

Sentencing him, Judge Maureen Bacon said he had targeted the victim because she was vulnerable: "Because she was older she was therefore an easier target than someone young and fit."

However she accepted he had provided all the evidence himself and could have just kept quiet about the robbery.

"You have provided all the evidence against yourself. You wanted to confess as you were feeling as though you were slipping back into the same drug usage that you had at the time you carried out the robbery."

She said the victim also got her rings returned by someone Bruneel had tried to sell them to, but that was through no help from Bruneel.

She said she hoped the victim had now moved on with her life.

John Morgans, for Bruneel, said: "He does not make any excuses."

He said there was a number of underlying issues behind his offending and said: "It's a sad case."

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