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Pensioner, 91, tried to fight off robber with shopping bag

PUBLISHED: 17:11 12 March 2018 | UPDATED: 08:05 13 March 2018

Rassel Ahmed was jailed for 40 months for robbery. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary

Rassel Ahmed was jailed for 40 months for robbery. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary

Norfolk Constabulary

A 91-year-old Norwich woman bravely fought off a robber by swinging her heavy shopping bag at him, a court heard.

The pensioner managed to hold onto her bag but fell to the ground banging her head after she was targeted by Rassel Ahmed, 49, while walking along Wessex Street, near St Stephens Gate Medical Practice on January 30, this year.

Ahmed ran off with her purse but was stopped by members of the public who came to her aid, Norwich Crown Court heard.

The judge praised the “public spirited” action of Leroy Kerslake who gave chase and got the purse back and waited with Ahmed until police arrived.

The court heard the bag snatch victim had the wound to her head treated in hospital and was kept in overnight for observation.

Ahmed also admitted being behind a string of thefts in Norwich, including stealing from an 85-year-old woman as she waited at a bus stop on Magdalen Street.

Ahmed, of Rider Haggard Road, Norwich, admitted robbery and possession of a knife and also admitted fraud and four counts of theft,

Mr Ivory said the first theft took place on January 15 when a woman had her purse containing £70 and mobile phone stolen in Aldi on Plumstead Road.

He also stole the purse from an 85-year-old woman at a bus stop which contained £300 in cash and treasured photos of her late husband.

In an impact statement she said the theft left her feeling “vulnerable” and “devastated.”

He also admitted taking a purse from another shopper and a wallet from a male victim.

Jailing him for 40 months, Judge Stephen Holt praised the “public spirited” actions of Mr Kerslake and said that the elderly victim had been “brave” to take a swing at Ahmed: “She took a swing at you with her shopping bag but unfortunately lost her footing and fell backwards.”

Andrew Oliver, for Ahmed, said he was homeless at the time and had starting using crack cocaine and heroin.

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