A THIEF who snatched a disabled man’s life savings has been jailed.
Paul Cox followed retired Portsmouth dock worker Micky Evans home from the bank and stole £9,000 from the front of his mobility scooter.
The 71-year-old was left penniless after Cox surprised him in the doorway of his home in Arundel Street, Landport, and grabbed a plastic bag containing the cash.
Mr Evans – who has an inoperable tumour, amputated leg and suffers from Parkinson’s – received the money as compensation after contracting asbestosis and was saving it to pass on to his daughter.
Portsmouth Crown Court heard how Cox had worked with two accomplices to keep track of the pensioner for 10 minutes as he made his way home.
Michael Williams, prosecuting, described him as a ‘career criminal’ who was first convicted of burglary aged just 13 years old.
He said: ‘Mr Evans is a man of very bad health, and that money was just about all he had.
‘His only relative is his daughter in Newcastle, and he would use this money to bring her down to see him.
‘You can hardly imagine theft having a more severe impact on a person.’
Cox – who gave his address as Furze Lane, in Milton, but no longer lives there – changed his plea to guilty before his trial could begin.
He has 32 convictions for a total of 51 offences – including one for dealing class A drugs which resulted in a five-and-a-half-year prison sentence.
Mr Evans – who was in court to see Cox get jailed for two years and nine months – said: ‘He got what he deserved.
‘It’s good he’s gone to prison, now no-one else will have to go through what happened to me.’
Defence barrister Louisa Bagley told the court Cox had committed an opportunistic crime to fund his long-term heroin addiction.
She said: ‘He deeply regrets the pain and worry he has caused Mr Evans to suffer by his actions.’
But passing sentence Judge Graham White said he had committed an ‘evil crime’.
‘You knew you were targeting a particularly vulnerable victim,’ he said.
‘Mr Evans was obviously disabled and you took what amounted to all the money he had in the world.
‘I know it is drug-fuelled, but you failed to take advantage of a drug treatment programme last time you were in prison.’
It is thought Cox has spent all the money. Mr Evans had withdrawn the money from his bank after becoming concerned it might be at risk after watching a television programme about £20 notes going out of circulation. So far News readers’ generosity has collected £350 to help Mr Evans visit his daughter.