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Nottingham

Handbag snatcher jailed after injuring pensioner in street robbery

A robber fractured an elderly woman’s wrist after knocking her over and snatching her handbag.

Gavin Woodcock decided to attack the 77-year-old after spotting her walking alone down an alleyway in Newark.

The prolific thief pushed his victim to the floor – grabbing her handbag as she fell.

He then fled from the scene, leaving the pensioner on the ground with a wrist fractured in two places and a cut to her head.

She was also left without a purse, house key, phone and bank cards, which were in the bag Woodcock snatched at around 9 pm on 13 August 2023.

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After rifling through his victim’s purse, the 39-year-old went into a shop and used the stolen card to buy cigarettes and alcohol for himself.

This was by no means Woodcock’s first theft, however, with the prolific offender stealing bottles of spirits from the shelves of two Newark stores on 22 July 2023.

The thief’s notoriety in the town ensured he was caught two days after the robbery on 15 August.

That’s when officers from the Newark neighbourhood policing team spotted Woodcock in the town centre and brought him into custody.

He would go on to be charged with robbery, two counts of theft, fraud by false representation, and failing to comply with notification requirements for an existing order.

Having pleaded guilty to the offences, Woodcock, of no fixed address, appeared at Nottingham Crown Court for sentencing on Thursday (14 December).

He was jailed for four years and eight months.

Detective Constable Matt Jones, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “Woodcock’s decision to creep up on an elderly woman and rob her of her handbag was cowardly in the extreme.

“Not content with leaving the pensioner on the floor with a fractured wrist, he then rifled through her belongings and used her bank card to go and get drunk.

“Woodcock’s behaviour that night was despicable and followed multiple examples of him taking items that didn’t belong to him.

“We’re pleased to see that he’s now been made to answer for his crimes in the form of a lengthy prison sentence.”   

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