Blackpool thief’s ‘life of criminality’

Karl Broadhead
Karl Broadhead

A man who stole a carer’s handbag as she assisted two disabled sisters in a shop has been jailed for 21 and a half months.

Karl Lee Broadhead, 35, of Devonshire Avenue, Thornton, and his cousin Lee Metcalfe, pinched the bag from the back of a wheelchair as the carer helped the 67-year-old who is paralysed, and her partially sighted sister, 57, in Cool Trader on June 8.

Yours is a depressingly familiar story

Karen Brooks, prosecuting, said: “When they leave the house (the older sister) uses the wheelchair to assist her to move about.

“There was a bottle of water in her handbag which meant the zip wasn’t properly shut and it was hung on back of the wheelchair.

“When she went to till she discovered her Michael Kors purse was missing. She had £85, her driving licence and cards in the purse and also a number of daughter cards she received from her deceased mother which were of sentimental value.”

Preston Crown Court heard he was seen stealing the bag on CCTV and recognised by a PCSO along with his co-accused – who pleaded guilty and is due to be sentenced by Blackpool Magistrates on a date to be set.

Broadhead also admitted burgling an elderly woman’s house in the area in a separate incident.

The court heard he broke into the ground floor flat of an 87-year-old, and stole a handbag belonging to her friend, who was visiting to help her with domestic chores.

It contained her keys, cards and cash and three guardian charms, and she had to have the locks changed on her vehicle and car.

Broadhead’s fingerprint was found on the kitchen window.

Defending, Colette Renton, said he had been addicted to drugs since the age of nine and said he had been led astray by his cousin.

She added: “He is the man who took the purse, but he was directed by his cousin and it was an unplanned theft.

“In late 2014 the defendant, having been released from prison, made a decision he wanted to change his life for the better and moved out of the Blackpool area to live with his grandfather. For a long time, he remained clean.

“He had a blip in this otherwise good progress. He is embarrassed and ashamed to be back in this situation.”

Activating an extra 14 weeks of a suspended jail term he had breached, Recorder Christopher Alldriss said: “You have an absolutely appalling record of 54 convictions for 202 offences including 128 thefts.

“Yours is a depressingly familiar story. Your life has been one of criminality to feed a habit.”

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