Judge’s ‘human decency’ blast

Preston Crown Court
Preston Crown Court
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A drug addict who subjected an elderly man to a terrifying robbery ordeal was told he had “no human decency” by a judge.

Preston Crown court heard William Tams, 53, was looking to feed his habit when he got into an address on Warbreck Drive, Blackpool, where he pinned his 85-year-old victim down on the floor and squeezed his face hard, demanding cash.

Tams, of no fixed address, had pleaded guilty to the robbery and asked for three burglaries of homes in the Blackpool area, all offences committed in the same month, to be taken into consideration.

Sentencing him to five years and four months in jail, Judge Christopher Cornwall (pictured) told Tams: “This is really a quite terrible crime.

“One really struggles to understand how anyone is so bereft of human decency that they can’t restrain themselves, realising it is a burglary that has gone wrong, in the sense that the occupier is in and at the door and is obviously old and at a disadvantage.

“But because you are so without any human decency you don’t turn on your heels.

“You can go to prison in the knowledge that you have seriously diminished the quality of life for an 85-year-old man and his 84-year-old wife.”

The victim’s wife was ill in bed upstairs with a chest infection when the robbery was carried out on January 18.

Lisa Worsley, prosecuting, said the elderly man was waiting for a friend to arrive to collect a prescription and so the front door was unlocked. He spotted a figure in the porch and knew it wasn’t his friend.

Tams pushed a door open and walked in, shouting outside “we’re in”.

He claimed a woman just wanted to use the toilet, despite the elderly man telling him to get out.

Miss Worsley said: “The defendant pushed past him and a woman walked in and upstairs. The elderly man shouted for her to stop.”

Again, he told Tams to get out, but the defendant shouted for him to be quiet.

She added: “He grabbed him by the face from behind and pushed him to the floor, where he landed with a thud, face down.

“The defendant knelt next to him, with a hand across his mouth. He was squeezing his face hard and shouting ‘where’s your money?’”

The woman came down the stairs and Tams told her to get a handbag, even telling her to be careful about leaving fingerprints. The victim thought he was pinned down for about 10 minutes before Tams let go and ran out of the house.

His wallet containing £50 was stolen, as well as other items including the handbag and a leather cigar case, of particular sentimental value, as it had been given to him by a friend 50 years earlier.

Tams was arrested the following day. The three burglaries he asked to be considered had happened at addresses on Pearson Avenue, Carlingate and Holmefield Road, all Blackpool and all carried out in the day time.

He had numerous offences on his record and has more recently been serving a six months sentence for a burglary which was also carried out in January.

John Marsh, defending, acknowledged it had been a nasty, cowardly attack on an elderly gentleman, adding: “The defendant feels disgusted with himself.

“He has now been in prison for a while and hasn’t been taking drugs.

“Drugs have undoubtedly been a difficulty in his life. He has a poor record”.