Burnley dementia sufferer, 78, scared to go out after being mugged by woman (From Burnley and Pendle Citizen)
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Burnley dementia sufferer, 78, scared to go out after being mugged by woman
A FRAIL 78-year-old man suffering from dementia was mugged in the street by a woman.
Former Burnley publican William ‘Billy’ Robinson, 78, was targeted deliberately by heroin addict Carmen Dean because he was vulnerable, a court heard.
Mr Robinson’s family said the actions of Dean had ‘ripped his life apart’ and ruined his confidence, to the point that he was now scared to be out on his own.
The former soldier in the East Lancashire Regiment, who did his national service in Egypt, used to go the Victoria pub, Colne Road, every afternoon but had not but had not been back on his own since the attack.
Widower Mr Robinson, a father and grandfather of 10, was outside the post office in Hebrew Road, Burnley, near his home at around 4.15pm when he was targeted by Dean.
She has been jailed for one year, a sentence his family said did not reflect the seriousness of the crime.
Denise Dixon, Mr Robinson’s 51-year-old daughter, who works in the catering department at Burnley General Hospital, said: “It is deplorable that my dad was targeted in this way, just because he was vulnerable. It is heartbreaking.
“It has ruined his confidence. He used to go to the pub every afternoon for a couple of hours, but now he can’t go in. He has been to the front door a few times but he won’t go in on his own.
“We just want him to go back to that, that is normal for him, that is his life and it has been taken from him.”
Mr Robinson, who has suffered from dementia for two years, ran pubs and clubs in Burnley for over 25 years, before ending his working career as a driver for Burnley-based bakery firm Turkington’s.
He and his wife, Kathleen, who died in 2000, ran the Daneshouse Club, before spending 23 years in charge of the Concert Artistes Club in the town centre, six months at a private members club in Whalley and time in charge of the Pleasant Home and Pride Working Men’s Club in Burnham Gate.
Mrs Dixon, who visits her dad every morning and evening and cares for him along with brother Mark, 47, and husband David, 52, said: “He is so well known in the Burnley area, and in Duke Bar. A lot of people look out for him and are appalled at what has happened.
“I have spoken to the dementia team and they said it could take six months before he gets over the attack and what has happened, but we just want him to be back to normal, we want him to be enjoying going to the pub and seeing friends again.”
At Burnley Crown Court Michael Wallbank, prosecuting, said witnesses saw Dean, 40, of Percy Street, Nelson, holding the pensioner by the shirt, pulling him and dragging him around on July 23.
The court heard that Dean, who had 42 previous convictions, was then seen walking away with Mr Robinson’s wallet. When challenged by witnesses she claimed she knew him, calling Mr Robinson ‘George’.
She tried to run off but was caught by one of the witnesses and detained until police arrived, while an ambulance was called for Mr Robinson, who was now complaining of chest pains.
He was taken to hospital and when he was allowed home he required 24-hour care for four weeks.
Richard Taylor, representing Dean, said: “Drink and drugs have really spoiled this lady's life for the last 20 years.
“The defendant presents today as somewhat pathetic in herself. She is very tearful, she is very upset about what has happened and she wishes to apologise not only to the victim, but to the court.”
Sentencing, Recorder Andrew Long said: “I am satisfied that you deliberately targeted the victim because he was very vulnerable and was incapable of defending himself from you.
“It is most fortunate that two members of the public were able to prevent this getting any worse than it did.”
Mrs Dixon said the sentence was not long enough for the family: “We haven't got any joy from this sentence. I am absolutely disgusted. She has torn his life apart yet will be walking away while we are still trying to get back to where we were. Where is the justice in that?”