A DRUG addict robbed and killed an elderly woman for £15.90 to feed his heroin habit, Leeds Crown Court heard.
Paul Glyn Halstead, 27, was jailed on Tuesday for eight-and-a-half years for robbery and the manslaughter of Gomersal pensioner Jean Myers in Quarry Lane – just yards from her home – on June 17.
The court heard that Halstead, of Shirley Parade, Gomersal, also robbed a 22-year-old woman in Cleckheaton town centre, on the same day.
He told police he spent between £10-£100 per day on heroin and when he decided to rob the two women, he only had 37p to his name. He had also stopped taking his anti-depressant and anti-psychotic medication.
Devout Christian Mrs Myers, 89, of Thoresby Drive, was walking along Quarry Road towards Halstead when he snatched her bag and ran off. Mrs Myers lost her balance and hit her head on the pavement.
A motorist saw the frail pensioner lying on the ground and called for an ambulance, which took her to Bradford Royal Infirmary, where she died from head injuries.
Prosecutor Mehran Nassiri said Halstead used the money to buy a small bag of heroin, before snatching a 22-year-old woman’s bag in Northgate, Cleckheaton, containing items worth £500.
Halstead ran off towards Bradford Road where he was chased by off-duty police officer PC Mark Nicholson and member of the public Mark Weatherall.
Halstead pleaded guilty to the two robberies and the manslaughter of Mrs Myers.
Charlotte Eastwood, mitigating, said he was a ‘reformed character’ who was no longer taking drugs.
Passing sentence, Mr Justice Foskett said: “To lose someone such as Mrs Myers, who was still fit, active, lively and in good health, in circumstances such as these must have caused unimaginable grief and not inconsiderable anger.
“She did her bit during the war, was married for 65 years and was still leading an active life six years after her husband’s death when her life was snatched from her.”
The court heard that Mrs Myers was an active member of St Mary’s Church, Gomersal, where she was a member of the Mothers’ Union. On the day before her death, she had visited the church to arrange flowers.
She was also actively involved with Gomersal St Mary’s School, where she helped children learn to read and led the Praise Group.
After the sentencing, Det Chief Insp Simon Bottomley said: “I hope this sends a clear message to people involved in these types of robberies that people can die and the police will catch up with you and put you before the courts.”