Collin Reid, 41 appeared at Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday, 24 November where he pleaded guilty to robbery.
On Tuesday, 7 July, the 87-year-old female victim took a bus to buy groceries at a supermarket at Tottenham Court Road. When she had completed her shopping she returned home by bus, with her trolley-bag containing food.
As she entered the gated area of her home address, she was attacked by Reid who attempted to take her bag. However, the bag was worn diagonally across the victim’s body and would not come free.
At this point Reid pushed the victim to the ground and kicked her in the back while she lay on the floor as he continued to try to break the bag strap free, instead of pulling it over the victim’s head.
Four witnesses passing by stopped when they heard the victim’s screams and one, thinking quickly, took pictures of Reid that were later submitted into police evidence and were hugely supportive in the case against him.
The victim, who used her trolley basked to aid her in walking, suffered extensive injuries to her arm, knees and back.
Immediately following the assault the suspect entered a nearby building where he took two purses from the handbag before exiting the building and throwing the handbag at back at the victim to make good his escape.
An investigation was launched by detectives in Westminster, and a number of weeks later Reid was traced at a hostel in the Bloomsbury area.
Further police enquiries showed that Reid had followed the victim from the bus and waited for 15 minutes outside the supermarket while she shopped. He then followed her back onto a second bus, before following her home, where he chose to rob the pensioner outside her home address off Charing Cross Road.
Reid was arrested on Wednesday, 16 September at an address on Guildford Street, WC1 on suspicion of robbery.
Reid appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, 17 September, where he was remanded in custody to appear at Southwark Crown Court on Wednesday, 21 October where he entered a not guilty plea.
A month after this initial plea, under the sheer weight of the evidence, Reid appeared at Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday, 24 November where he changed his plea to guilty.
Detective Constable James Brooks, of the Central West Basic Command Unit, said: “The victim in this case, although physically very frail, has been incredibly strong throughout our investigation and the subsequent hearings at court.
“However, although she is on the road to recovery from the injuries inflicted by Reid during the physical attack, the psychological effects of this incident will continue far beyond the healing of her physical injuries.
“I would like to thank the witnesses who were quick thinking enough to intervene and take images of Reid and who rushed to the victim’s side to support and help her.
“I hope that everyone concerned finds some satisfaction in the knowledge that Reid has admitted the offence and he will now pay the penalty for is callous and cowardly actions that he committed in order to steal £60 from a pensioner.”
Reid is remanded in custody to appear before Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday, 22 December for sentencing.