Jail for woman who preyed on the elderly

Jailed: Katie Coleman
Jailed: Katie Coleman

A WOMAN who blackmailed and burgled elderly victims has been jailed for four-and-half years.

Katie Coleman (31), of Southwell Road, Wisbech, blackmailed a 69-year-old man and took £2,000 from his savings over three months.

Cambridge Crown Court heard Coleman began threatening and harassing the victim, who has since died, in October last year by visiting his home in Wisbech where he lived alone.

The victim had come into contact with Coleman through his work locally but did not know her well.

She began visiting him and would bang on the windows and door of his flat until he let her in. She would then force him to go to various cash machines, demanding money and threatening to get her brothers to beat him up if he refused.

The court heard Coleman denied blackmail right up to trial when she pleaded guilty.

On Monday (November 7) Coleman was jailed for two-and-a-half years for the blackmail and two years for a robbery, which Judge Gareth Hawksworth described as a distraction burglary type offence.

Coleman robbed a 68-year-old woman of her mobile phone on June 23 this year in Wisbech St Mary. The court heard the victim had suffered a stroke meaning the phone was her “lifeline”.

The sentences will run consecutively.

Detective Constable Jon Edwards, who investigated, said: “These were despicable offences where Coleman deliberately preyed on vulnerable victims.

“Sadly, the victim is not around to see the result, but I hope this case serves as a warning to anyone who thinks they can commit this type of crime and get away with it.”

The victim died of cancer in August shortly after the trial was due to begin.