A drug addict from the East End of Sunderland has been jailed for stealing the card and phone of an elderly man in hospital to withdraw nearly £300 from his victim’s bank account.
After admitting his crimes in court, Rafter, of city centre East Cross Street, asked to be imprisoned in a bid to stabilise his life.
Through his solicitor, he said he did want the chance of immediate rehabilitative support – and District Judge Zoe Passfield granted his wish.
She put him behind bars for 12 weeks on each of 14 charges, to run concurrently, and ordered him to pay full compensation.
Prosecutor John Garside said Rafter struck at Sunderland Royal Hospital on Saturday, August 13, and committed the frauds the same day.
He added: “There is a statement from the victim who says that he was admitted to hospital and the defendant was also in the same ward.
“He asked to borrow his mobile phone charger. He noticed that his mobile phone and bank card were taken, with the card used to take £295.
“An impact statement from the victim says that he is elderly and couldn’t believe that another patient could do such a thing.”
At South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court, Rafter pleaded guilty to theft of the phone and 13 counts of fraud by false representation.
Joanne Gatens, defending, said Rafter, who is on state benefits, would refuse to work with the Probation Service, if spared jail.
She said he believed its support would not be beneficial and he preferred immediate imprisonment.
Mrs Gatens added: “It’s a guilty plea at the first opportunity and I’m sure you’ll give full credit for that.
“He describes his life as having spiralled out of control. He lives in a property with people who have led him down the wrong path.
“He is using any drugs that he can get his hands on. It’s sad because it’s been four years since he was last before the court.
“He wants to be sent to prison today. We have had a conversation that prison isn’t going to solve his problems, but he feels it may stabilise him.”