Heroin addict admits trying to rob pensioner

Josephine Mazzina-Claridge was spared jail.

Josephine Mazzina-Claridge was spared jail. - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

A former care home assistant who pushed an 83-year-old woman to the ground in Dalston Lane to steal her handbag has been spared jail.

Josephine Mazzina-Claridge, 49, of Dalston Lane, had been battling a heroin addiction and claimed she had not eaten for two days when she attacked the woman.

Two passers-by stopped their car and jumped on Mazzina-Claridge to restrain her, and held on to her until police arrived.

Mazzina-Claridge pleaded guilty to attempted robbery, telling police she had been looking for cigarette butts on the floor at the time of the incident in Dalston Lane.

Her victim, Beatrice Cooper, escaped with a cut to the hand, but a friend who was accompanying her at the time said she had been left terrified and shaken by the incident on May 26.

Mazzina-Claridge had recently lost her job at a care home and was living in a hostel when she tried to rob Mrs Cooper.

Sentencing her to 15 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Wednesday July 23, Judge Nigel Peters said the victim had “no doubt suffered psychological trauma”.

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“Thankfully, due to the interference of the public, the bag and its contents were returned to her,” he said. “You’ve joined Lifeline and taken the chance to rid yourself of your addiction.

“I believe I can justly suspend the sentence, with conditions, to help you and also to punish you.”

She must complete 120 hours’ unpaid work and is subject to a one-year supervision order, as well as a curfew order from 9pm to 6am, plus a £100 victim surcharge.

The judge told her: “You’re lucky, usually for a crime like this people walk out of the dock and head for prison, which in your case would have been Holloway.”