Thief caught on camera creeping past war hero granddad to steal his cash

A woman crept past her 92-year-old war hero grandad to steal his cash.

Melissa Collier checked that her 83-year-old grandma was out of the house before letting herself into the home.

The 28-year-old then sneaked past her grandad who is confined to a wheelchair having had a stroke, Hull Daily Mail reported.

Her plans were scuppered however when she was caught on a surveillance camera, which had been set up by police when the elderly couple noticed their money was going missing.

The grandma and grandad, who live at the Anlaby sheltered housing complex, said they had an "excellent" relationship with their granddaughter.

Collier's grandad was said to be "devastated" when he was told it was his daughter's daughter who had been stealing from them.

He has since died without an apology and before her conviction. 

Stephen Welch, prosecuting, told Hull Crown Court, said that Collier, of Trinity Court, Hull city centre, had used information only known to the family before "planning" how to take advantage.

He said: "For some time they had noticed money had been going missing, never in very large amounts. The suspicion had fallen on the carer.

"The matter was reported to the police and was under surveillance.

"When her grandmother was being taken out to go shopping – clearly because of the family connection she was aware when her grandmother would leave – she would turn up and was slipping in.

"Her grandfather had suffered a stroke and was confined to a chair. It was only when police set up surveillance that she was caught going into a drawer in her grandfather's bedroom and taking the money from a drawer."

An aggravating feature of the crime was the fact that Collier's grandad was in the home at the time of the burglaries.

"The complainant was in the home at the time that the burglary occurred and the premises were deliberately targeted due to the vulnerability of the complainant," Mr Welch added.

"There's a degree of planning, she has attended when her grandmother is out and her grandfather is on her own."

Before arriving in court on Tuesday Collier had previously pleaded guilty to five counts of burglary from a dwelling and once count of theft from a person.

She had previously been caught by her best friend Samantha Wood, who set up a camera after noticing money going missing.

The 27-year-old said she sat and cried in her bedroom as she watched her best friend of 14 years in her kitchen below rifling through her purse, before stuffing her money in her bra.

Judge Paul Watson QC, Honorary Recorder of Hull, asked defending lawyer Mark Savage: "You can’t claim it's a one off can you? She's gone back multiple times."

Mr Savage agreed, but said Collier was very remorseful. He blamed her need for money on the desire to "keep up with" her mother.

He said: "On behalf of Miss Collier, she can not offer and refuses to offer any excuse, what is clear, is this is a young woman not coping with life and was spending money to keep up with her mother.

"Her remorse is deep and genuine. This is a young woman who realises she has lost everything, and her grandparents who she had an excellent relationship with.

"The loss of her grandparents gives her immeasurable pain, if she was able to speak to her grandparents she would express her remorse and offer to pay them back.

"It's cost her her job, her friends, her family, her self dignity, through her own actions.

"She says to the court she cannot make good what she has done, her actions will stay with her, not just her, but her elderly grandparents and her friend, forever.

"There is clearly a background history of problems between herself and her mother and she was trying to keep up with her mother in spending money she did not have and that caused this."

The starting point for sentencing is three years, with a range between two and six years for one offence.

In a surprising turn the judge sent her to prison for two days while he thought about what sentence to give her.

He told the court his decision was not an indication of his final decision, but did not speak directly to Collier – who was crying uncontrollably as she was sent down.

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