A syringe was held to the neck of a disabled woman in her 90s during a robbery at her home in Ramsgate.
The victim was told her cats would also be harmed during the incident in January 2019, during which her bank card and £160 cash were stolen.
Now one of the men responsible, 45-year-old Mark Ellis of no fixed address, has been sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to robbery.
He was arrested after being caught on CCTV using the woman’s bank card, with the downloaded image bearing a strong resemblance to an e-fit created by the victim.
Ellis was also forensically linked to a glove left at the scene.
Maidstone Crown Court heard how Kent Police was notified of the robbery when the victim contacted her bank on Monday 14 January to report her stolen card.
She disclosed that she had opened her door to two men who at first pretended to be friends of her late husband, but who entered her house and began rummaging through her belongings.
One of the men pushed the woman to the floor and demanded she hand over her jewellery. When she told him she had none, he produced a syringe containing a clear liquid from his pocket and threatened to squirt it at her cats.
He then held it against the victim’s neck, causing the liquid to trickle onto her skin.
During the course of their enquiries, Kent Police officers established that the woman’s bank card had been used on multiple occasions to purchase goods to the value of £1,330 including a mobile phone from a shop in Ashford High Street. The transaction was captured on CCTV and provided a positive identification of Mark Ellis.
The glove he left at the victim’s home was found on top of a freezer by a crime scene investigator carrying out a forensic sweep of the property.
Ellis was arrested on Wednesday 30 January and later charged with robbery. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced on Monday 9 December.
Investigating officer DC Mark Huttley said: ‘The despicable actions of Mark Ellis and his accomplice had a deeply profound effect on the victim, who was so traumatised that she can now no longer live by herself. She has since moved away from the home where she lived with her husband for many years, and left Thanet completely.
‘Ellis initially claimed to have had no knowledge of the incident and that he was shocked to have been arrested, but when faced with the combination of CCTV and forensic evidence he had little choice but to accept responsibility and plead guilty.
‘He will now serve a considerable period of time behind bars as a result.’