Bishop Auckland wallet thief branded ‘dangerous’

MAN, who stole his much older victim’s wallet while walking home from the bar in the early hours, was branded “dangerous” by a judge.

Gary Littlefair, whose past convictions include the purse-snatching robbery of an 85-year-old woman, was sentenced to 49 months in prison for his last crime on July 17, just two days after the previous license inspection period expired.

Durham Crown Court was told that the victim had drank about eight beers at the Station Hotel in Bishop Auckland and used an ATM at Asda while walking home.

Prosecutor Peter Sabiston said the man in his 60s “jumped from behind” and fell to the ground.

Although he managed to stand up, he “jumped” again as he passed a gas station.

Mr Sabiston said the victim struggled with the wool-wearing robber and was dragged along the road before his £1,400 wallet was taken.

At one point, he thought it was his own son who had attacked him because the robber used the term “Dad”.

A taxi driver came to the aid of the victim, and after an appeal on social media, the wallet and some of the money were returned.

When he was arrested, after contacting him via CCTV footage, Littlefair said he had no intention of stealing money as he had argued with the other man after taking four Valium tablets.

He claimed there was an argument and a fight, after which he found the wallet worth around £1,000 on the floor, but didn’t know who it belonged to.

Mr Sabiston said Crown did not agree with this version and that the footage clearly showed Littlefair tracking and targeting the victim.

In her statement of impact, the victim said she was afraid to leave the house after the attack and always “looked over my shoulder”.

Bishop of Littlefair, 38, of Newgate Street, Auckland, confessed to the robbery.

In the reduction, Amrit Jandoo said most of Littlefair’s 53 felony felony histories took place at a time when it was “rooted by substance abuse” that he had “made great efforts” to overcome.

However, at the time of the robbery, it relapsed in July.

Judge Ray Singh said Littlefair targeted his victim and made a “significant attempt” to rob him.

He gave the extended sentence because he thought Littlefair posed a more serious risk of committing a crime, meaning he would be eligible for release only by order of the Parole Board after serving two-thirds of the 49 months.

Upon release, it will be subject to an extended license period of two years.

The judge also subject Littlefair to a life-long restraining order that forbids him from approaching or making contact with the victim.

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