Woman 'befriended' elderly vulnerable men before burgling their homes in Leamington
A callous woman who targeted elderly and vulnerable men by ‘befriending’ them before burgling their homes in Leamington and stealing from them has been jailed.
Patricia McGoldrick had pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to two charges of burglary, one of theft and one of attempted theft.
McGoldrick (38) of no fixed address, who had a number of similar previous convictions, was jailed for four-and-a-half years.
Prosecutor Patrick Sullivan said: “The offences all have a common theme, that she befriends elderly men and, having gained their trust, she steals from them.”
On September 22 a 68-year-old man was at home in his ground-floor flat in Leamington, during the afternoon when McGoldrick appeared at the window.
She asked him for a cheese sandwich, £3 in cash and a roll-up cigarette, so he got his son, who was at the flat, to make a sandwich while he gave her a roll-up, and she then left.
But she returned three days later when he was alone in the flat, approached the window and again asked for a cigarette.
When the pensioner went to get his tobacco he heard a noise, and returned to find McGoldrick had climbed through the window into the living room, leaving muddy footprints.
As he began to sweep up the mud, she walked through to the kitchen to make a cup of tea and asked for the £3 he had not given her on the previous occasion.
The man, described as being vulnerable, gave her the money, but she upped her request to £8 and rubbed herself against him sexually, asking if he was frigid when he failed to respond.
When she then tried to open a cupboard where he kept his wallet, there was a struggle as he tried to stop her, but she got the wallet and took £60 from it before leaving.
About an hour later his son, having been told what had happened, saw her in the area and detained her and called the police – but officers took so long to arrive that he let her go.
McGoldrick had previously befriended an 86-year-old man by approaching him in Leamington town centre and asking him to look after her bag, which he did for two hours before handing it to the police when she did not return for it.
But she found where he lived, and over an 18-month period she inveigled herself into his life and ‘made a real nuisance of herself’ by turning up at his home.
During her repeated visits she stole a watch which had been a gift from his son, his late wife’s wedding and engagement rings and other items.
And on October 1 she knocked on his door, and when he opened it she tried to pull his wallet from his pocket, but he was able to prevent her taking it.
Then on October 23 McGoldrick approached an 82-year-old man she had befriended in the street and asked him for money – and when he refused, she took his wallet and took £15 from it.
Mr Sullivan added that McGoldrick was a ‘third strike’ burglar, and her previous offences, which had also included a number of thefts and a robbery, had followed the same pattern of befriending vulnerable men before stealing from them – in what he said was known as ‘mate crime.’
McGoldrick’s barrister Rashad Mohammed told the court her life had been blighted by her misuse of class A drugs, and she committed offences to fund that addiction.
He said she had three children who had all been taken into care, but she had recently become reunited with the oldest, now aged 21.
And Mr Mohammed added: “She has asked me to apologise to the victims on her behalf. She is ashamed of her behaviour.”
Jailing McGoldrick, Judge Sylvia de Bertodano told her: “You committed offences against men who all had in common the fact that they were vulnerable and elderly.
“What you did was befriend them and use that friendship in order to steal from them.
“For the last almost 20 years you have been taking things from people in very similar circumstances. Sometimes it’s theft, sometimes it’s burglary, and on one occasion it was robbery.
“But what the offences have in common is that you prey on elderly vulnerable gentlemen.”