We can’t be the only ones utterly dismayed today at the way callous thief Paul Cox has been left off so lightly by our legal system.
He followed retired dockyard worker Micky Evans home from the bank and stole £9,000 savings in a plastic bag from the front of his mobility scooter. Now Cox has been ordered to pay back just £1.
Cox deliberately targeted an elderly man who he thought was vulnerable and an easy touch – Mr Evans has an inoperable tumour, suffers from Parkinson’s and has had a leg amputated.
He became a victim after Cox worked with two accomplices to keep track of the pensioner for 10 minutes as he slowly made his way back to his home in Landport.
When Cox discovered how much money he had stolen, he must have thought it was Christmas.
For Mr Evans, it was totally devastating. The money was compensation he had received after contracting asbestosis and he was saving the money to pass on to his daughter.
He had only withdrawn it from the bank after becoming concerned it might be at risk when he watched a television programme about £20 notes going out of circulation.
Eventually Cox was caught and jailed for 18 months for this despicable crime. It was no more than he deserved.
But what happened to all the money?
When Cox returned to court to face a confiscation order, he said he’d spent it. So, as he now insists he has nothing to his name, he only has to pay back a derisory £1.
No wonder Mr Evans finds it an insult. Or that the police who caught Cox find it immensely frustrating that he can go on a spending spree with stolen cash and then not have to pay it back.
Detective Constable Chris Dinenage from Portsmouth CID, said: ‘What happened to Mr Evans was evil and unjust.
‘I wish we could make Cox pay back more of what he stole, but he just has no money or assets whatsoever.’
Meanwhile Mr Evans now has virtually nothing in the bank and, like the rest of us, is left to wonder at the meaning of justice.