‘Robber broke my heart - but I forgive him’

Brenda Starkey who was robbed, pictured on Southsea Common''''Picture: Paul Jacobs  (131956-7)

Brenda Starkey who was robbed, pictured on Southsea Common''''Picture: Paul Jacobs (131956-7)

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A WHEELCHAIR-bound woman who was robbed for her jewellery and cash says she forgives her attacker.

Brenda Starkey, from Southsea, had thousands of pounds worth of jewellery and cash stolen from her on May 10 this year.

Jason Libby, 37, of St Michael’s Road, Portsmouth, stole her handbag, which contained a precious ring she was taking to be resized as a gift to her god-daughter.

Also inside the bag was $2,000, which she had for a planned trip to the United States.

Her purse was also taken, containing an irreplaceable photograph of her son Timothy, who died when he was three.

Mrs Starkey suffered a major stroke 10 years ago shortly after the death of her husband Peter and relies on a wheelchair to get around.

Despite the ordeal, she says she forgives her attacker and wants him to change his ways.

She said: ‘I’m planning to write to him and urge him to turn his life around.

‘I want to say “I forgive you”.

‘I have to forgive him, for my own sake, because otherwise that horrible feeling festers within you and does more harm. They are only possessions, and his soul is worth much more. I just hope he turns his life around.’

On June 24, Libby was sentenced by Portsmouth magistrates to 10 weeks in prison for the offence, suspended for a year.

Brenda added: ‘I was frightened to go home afterwards because my bag had my keys in there. I went into terrible shock.

‘These people just don’t realise the trauma and pain they cause by their actions.’

Drug user Libby was sentenced on June 24 to 10 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, for the offence of robbing Mrs Starkey.

On the same day he was also given the same sentence for each of two offences he committed by pretending to be collecting money for Queen Alexandra Hospital.

Taken into consideration was an offence of stealing valuable medals from the D-Day Museum in Southsea, which were later found and returned, and an offence of stealing £240 from behind the counter area of Blossom’s Beauty in Cascades Shopping Centre, Portsmouth, on May 13.

In total, for all five crimes, Libby was sentenced to 20 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to complete a drug rehabilitation programme.

WORKING TOGETHER HELPED TO SOLVE OFFENCES

Police said Jason Libby was brought to justice thanks to good teamwork.

A Hampshire Constabulary spokesman said: ‘Persistence and perseverance shown by officers from different departments enabled lines of enquiry to be pursued promptly and thoroughly.

‘We were particularly delighted to make a difference in solving the theft of World War Two medals from the D-Day Museum in May, recovering important historic symbols of people’s sacrifice for this country.’

He added: ‘Where crime is motivated by substance misuse, admitting further offences can increase the likelihood of a defendant receiving a rehabilitation sentence from the courts.’

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