CALLOUS Darren Williams stole £2,000 of jewellery from a grieving widow after being asked to help when her husband died.
Williams was lodging with the 83-year-old widow’s son, Stephen Oram, when he went to the vulnerable woman’s home on the morning she found her husband dead.
It’s probably one of the most callous crimes that I’ve dealt with for some considerable timeDetective Constable Jim Wells
But instead of comforting the family he exploited them, secretly stealing the jewellery and pawning it to pay debts, including a Virgin Media bill.
He was out of sight twice on the day Mr Oram’s father was taken away by undertakers – but told police he stole the sentimental items days later after taking house keys from his landlord’s mantelpiece.
Portsmouth Crown Court heard Williams, 32, was caught after H&T Pawnbrokers, in Kingston Road, alerted police.
Williams, of Gladys Avenue, North End, Portsmouth, used his own name and address on their forms, and had been paid £2,264.50.
Jailing Williams for 18 months, Judge Ian Pearson said: ‘You did exploit the death of the victim’s husband. The victim herself has Alzheimer’s and she was very vulnerable and the son must also have been in a very vulnerable position, having suffered the death of his father on the days of this burglary taking place.’
Speaking after the hearing, Detective Constable Jim Wells added: ‘It’s probably one of the most callous crimes that I’ve dealt with for some considerable time. The victim is still very traumatised by the whole thing.’
The court heard Williams had been lodging with Mr Oram in Fratton for several months before going to help on the day of his 86-year-old father’s death.
Peter Asteris, prosecuting, said: ‘Stephen Oram received a call from his mother telling him she had found his father deceased.
‘He then went in the company of his lodger Williams.
‘Thirty minutes later they called the ambulance, police attended and took a report.
‘The undertakers then took Mr Oram senior away.
‘It was on that day the defendant remained in sight of Stephen Oram all the time, except on two occasions when he went to use the toilet.
‘Stephen Oram was extremely upset on that day.
‘His mother couldn’t stay in the house on her own and she was sent to a care home immediately.’
The pair went back several times to the house, in Highbury Grove, Cosham, to clear it after the death on May 7.
When arrested Williams told police he did not take the jewellery on the day of Mr Oram’s father’s death.
‘He went on to explain that, despite the tragic circumstances the family were enduring, he had taken Mr Oram’s key from the mantelpiece, had gone to the address, let himself in and helped himself to jewellery,’ Mr Asteris said.
All of the jewellery was recovered.
Simon Moger, defending, said: ‘While he was there he succumbed to temptation, saw the jewellery and decided to take it.’
Williams admitted burglary at a previous hearing. The judge ordered Williams, who has 12 convictions for 24 offences, to pay £1,000 compensation to the pawnbroker.