Detectives have praised the bravery of a blind pensioner who recognised two callous thieves from the sound of their voices – and helped police secure long prison terms against the pair.
Drug addicts Sarah Mulholland and James Conlon rushed into the 72-year-old’s flat in Booth Street, Handsworth, on 30 June last year shouting “where’s the money?”
The lady was threatened and Conlon slapped her across the face before they fled with cash swiped from a handbag.
However, the victim recognised the tone of Mulholland’s voice as the 33-year-old was a past resident at the shared accommodation block.
She returned to the property on 24 July in a bid to again intimidate vulnerable residents for money to fund her heroin and crack cocaine habit – but police were alerted and officers arrested her on site.
Her partner Conlon, 28, was spoken to about the incident in HMP Birmingham following his arrest for another robbery.
Both denied the offence and even tried pinning the blame on a Good Samaritan who heard the pensioner’s screams and ran to her aid.
Mulholland eventually admitted involvement but Conlon only entered a guilty plea on day one of his trial at Birmingham Crown Court – a move met with disapproval by the judge as it forced the 72-year-old to attend court believing she would be giving evidence.
He was jailed for eight years at the same court on June 8 while Mulholland was handed a four-year prison term after they admitted two counts of robbery.
The pair had carried out an earlier knifepoint robbery on 31 March in the Pump Tavern, Handsworth, where a woman’s purse was snatched.
Investigating officer, Detective Constable Laurence Green, said: “They both have drug habits costing almost £100 per day and went to the shared accommodation with the intention of persuading or bullying residents into parting with money.
“The level of threats and violence they used against this vulnerable lady was grotesque – she escaped with minor bruising but it could have been much worse.
“She is almost totally blind but immediately recognised Mulholland’s voice and reported the incident to West Midlands Police. She has been supportive throughout and I’d like to praise her commitment and courage as it’s helped us get two nasty people off the streets.”
Det Con Green also thanked a brave member of the public who ran to help the woman, chased the attackers as they tried to board a bus and even lay down in front in front of the double-decker to prevent it leaving.
He added: “It was a fantastic display of public spirit. Mulholland and Conlon eventually ran off but the man disturbed them during the robbery, scared them off and may well have prevented the lady being seriously hurt.”
Source:: West Midlands Police News