Drug addict locked up for robbing frail gran

Veronica Heyes, known as Vera, after she was robbed by Lynette Oakey.

Veronica Heyes, known as Vera, after she was robbed by Lynette Oakey.

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The family of a drug addict who robbed a pensioner outside a doctor’s surgery have branded her jail sentence “a joke.”

Relatives of Lynette Oakey were in court yesterday to see her locked up for less than three years, for pushing over frail Veronica Heyes to steal her handbag.

Lynnette Oakey who robbed frail Vera Heyes at a Preston health centre

Lynnette Oakey who robbed frail Vera Heyes at a Preston health centre

Family friend Janice Booth said she was “disgusted” by her “evil” behaviour and family members offered a hug and apologies to great-grandmother Mrs Heyes, 80, after the case.

Oakey, of City Road, Kitt Green, Wigan, attacked widow Mrs Heyes as she went for a blood test at Geoffrey Street clinic in Preston on September 4 last year.

She approached Mrs Heyes and asked her for a cigarette before making a grab for her handbag.

But when Mrs Heyes tightened her grip on her bag, Oakey kicked her walking stick away and Mrs Heyes lost her balance and fell to the floor - still clutching her handbag.

As Mrs Heyes lay on the floor with a bruised head, face and wrist, Oakey pulled the great-grandmother’s bag over her head and made off.

But two Good Samaritans who heard Mrs Heyes’ screams, caught the robber and held her till the police arrived.

Recorder Guy Mathieson, sentencing, said: “Mrs Heyes should be commended for her bravery and equally those individuals who came so quickly to arrest the defendant.”

Preston Crown Court heard Oakey had lived a fairly stable life after battling with drugs in the early 2000s. But since the breakdown of her marriage, she returned to Preston and her old ways.

Oakey, 34, admitted robbery and three bail offences after failing to turn up to face the consequences of her cowardly attack on Mrs Heyes, on three separate occasions.

The judge said: “The difficulty with that is that the focus of that becomes entirely driven by your need to get your next fix.

“You don’t give any thought to anything else and it overwhelms any thought for anyone else.”

As the judge handed down a sentence of two years and 10 months, members of Oakey’s family expressed their disgust and offered condolences to Mrs Heyes.

Her sister, Dawn Oakey, said: “They say there’s justice? Two years for robbing an old woman? It’s a joke.”

The distraught widow, who has more than 30 grandchildren and great-grandchildren, said: “I was a mess, my face was black, my wrist was severely swollen and there were bruises everywhere.

“My face looked so bad I didn’t want my grandchildren seeing me.

“I didn’t go out for three weeks because I was so scared. I’m a tough nut - I’m a Wigan girl - but this knocked me for six. I have to sleep with the light on, which I’ve never ever done in my life.

“It was absolutely horrible. I was in a bad way, I was shaking.

“I was a prime target. I was helpless without my crutch. She would have known that - but she knocked it out of my hand and knocked me to the floor. She didn’t say anything, but my bag had been securely strapped to my front so she had to knock me over to pull it over my head.”

As Mrs Heyes left the court, Oakey’s family hugged the great-grandmother and offered her their apologies, saying: “She’s brought shame on the family.”