Hemsby woman jailed for stealing £400 from her step-grandfather and threatening him to drop the charges

Lorna Bevan Thompson from the Lacon Arms in Hemsby who is hoping to build a wedding chapel next to t

Lorna Bevan Thompson from the Lacon Arms in Hemsby who is hoping to build a wedding chapel next to the pub.Village SignPicture: James BassCopy: John OwensFor: GYM NewsEastern Daily Press © 2010 (01603) 772434 - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2010

A Hemsby woman who stole £400 from her 87-year-old step-grandfather by rifling through his bedroom while he slept and then threatening him into dropping the charges, will be spending the new year in prison.

Amanda Goodyear, of The Close, Hemsby, Great Yarmouth, has been given a 17 month prison sentence - eight months for the burglary, and nine months for witness intimidation.

It came after Goodyear burgled the home of Dennis Jones, on Yardley Avenue, Pitstone, Buckinghamshire on the night of July 2-3.

The court heard that she sneaked into his home and stole a purse containing £300, from a chest of drawers in his bedroom, before grabbing a further £100 from another wallet.

She then left the front door open so that the pensioner would feel 'aggravated and vulnerable' when he awoke in the morning to find he had been 'burgled.'

Ten days later, after she had been interviewed by police, Goodyear broke her bail conditions by phoning her elderly relative to try to blackmail him into dropping the prosecution against her, a judge heard.

The 49-year-old, who had never been convicted of any previous offences, was told she had abused the trust Mr Jones had given her in allowing her to have a spare key to his house.

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Goodyear was arrested and interviewed by police after the break-in was reported, but Edward Lewis, prosecuting told Aylesbury Crown Court that she denied 'any involvement in the burglary.'

She was freed on bail with a condition not to contact Mr Jones but she phoned him on July 13 and threatened him unless he dropped the charge.

Mr Lewis said: 'Mr Jones said, 'You're trying to blackmail me, aren't you?' She just laughed.'

Goodyear was arrested again on July 21 on suspicion of witness intimidation and later made full admissions of that offence and the burglary when she was questioned by detectives.

Mr Lewis said: 'She said she wanted to do this to aggravate him and make him feel vulnerable.

'Although she tried to say she was lawfully entitled to the money as the victim wouldn't have minded, she accepted it was theft and the circumstances surrounding it were dishonest.'

Lyall Thompson, defending Goodyear, said any prison sentence imposed on her could be suspended because of the defendant's previous good character, early guilty pleas and her realisation of what effect the burglary has had on her step-grandfather.

He said: 'At the time of the police interview she had little insight into the effect of her actions and very little remorse. That has increased throughout the proceedings - it is now apparent she understands what she's done is wrong and she does regret her actions.'

Judge Francis Sheridan, said: 'Intimidation is a truly wicked piece of deployment. Your victim rightfully said 'you are blackmailing me'. That's a charge that strikes at the heart of justice.

'It gives me no pleasure to pass these sentences on a lady of 49 years with good character, but what you set out to do was deliberate and wicked.'