Drug addict mugged lady recovering from stomach cancer who left the house for the first time in weeks

A drug addict mugged a vulnerable woman who had left her home for the first time in weeks after having recovering from cancer.

The victim left her home on her own for the first time in weeks but her confidence was soon shattered by the “disgraceful” actions of Christopher Newton.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the 45-year-old went to the cash machine at a Spar shop on Sheriffs Highway, Gateshead, at around 2.30pm on July 9 last year.

She took out £30 and put the cash and her card into her purse before entering the shop. But Newton grabbed her purse and tried to pull it away from her, with the woman bravely resisting and struggling with him.

The back of her hand was scratched and bruised in the encounter, which ended with Newton grabbing the purse, which contained £40, a debit card and other cards, and running off.

He was quickly identified because he was a regular “visitor” at the store. Police were on their way to the Spar to take statements when they spotted Newton, who tried to run away but was caught and arrested. He had an ID card belonging to the woman down his sock.

In a victim impact statement, she said: “This experience has really upset and shocked me. I’m currently recovering from stomach cancer which requires many medical appointments and I had a stroke last year.

“I don’t regularly leave the house and it was the first time in a month I left the house by myself. The experience has really destroyed my confidence to do this again.”

Newton, 29, of no fixed address, who has 33 previous convictions, including for robberies in 2013 and 2017, for which he was jailed for five years, pleaded guilty to robbery and was jailed for three years and four months.

Recorder Nicholas Lumley KC told him: “What you did was disgraceful. Fuelled by drugs and alcohol, you grabbed at her. When she tried, courageously, to resist, you caused her cuts and bruises. You didn’t think for one minute she would struggle and attempt to fight back.”

Sue Hirst, defending, said: “I would like to emphasise how sorry he is for what he did to this lady. In the cold light of day and not under the influence of substances, he understands how distressing it must have been and he is genuinely remorseful.