‘I feel sorry for them. They did not harm me’

Elizabeth Booth was the victim of a distraction burglary
Elizabeth Booth was the victim of a distraction burglary

A pensioner who fell victim to two thieves has today said she feels ‘sorry’ they will serve a combined total of four years behind bars.

Elizabeth Booth was living in sheltered accommodation on Ferrier Bank, Warton, when she was burgled by callous brothers Charlie Cawley and Martin Cawley Jnr.

The pair were both jailed for two years each at Preston Crown Court, after pleading guilty to burglary following the incident on August 20 last year.

Mrs Booth, 89, who has mobility problems and relies on a walking trolley, said: “This man came in and said ‘They are having a barbecue up the street, why don’t you come?’

“I said to him ‘it’s 10 o’clock in the morning and we are all elderly people around here, there won’t be a barbecue at this time’. He didn’t argue with that and then he left.

“Then I noticed my purse was missing from the shelf at the bottom of my walking trolley.

“I felt sorry for them when I heard their sentences because they did not harm me. I think two years is a long time.

“They must have had troubled lives and I don’t think their parents can have done a good job in bringing them up.”

Mrs Booth, who lost her husband six years ago, had left her front door open because she had been expecting a neighbour to call round.

Her purse contained £50 in cash and cards.

Mrs Booth said: “Of course, they had to be punished and I don’t forgive them because what they did was wrong.

“I hope what has happened will be a deterrent for them and for other people, and stop them doing things like this.”

The brothers were tracked down after a witness saw a blue van parked outside a beauty salon on Lytham Road, then spotted two men running from Mrs Booth’s home.

Another witness also saw the van and remembered part of the registration.

Martin Cawley Jnr, 28, of no fixed address, was recalled to prison to serve the remainder of a previous prison sentence for robbery following the offence. He will complete that sentence before starting his next prison term.

Charlie Cawley, 18, of Stopford Avenue, Bispham, also admitted the attempted burglary of the homes of two other women in Kirkham on the same day. He tried to persuade another pensioner in Beech Avenue to go to a barbecue, but she did not trust them and stayed put. At a home in Mythop Road, he told a third woman he had been sent by his gran, who wanted to make her tea.

She refused and said she wanted to go to the post office, but when he offered to take her card and go there for her, she became suspicious and he left.

Both those victims had become suspicious of his behaviour and he left empty-handed. The teenager also pleaded guilty to handling a stolen van.

He was 17 at the time of the offences, and has been given two years youth custody.

Despite her ordeal, Mrs Booth, who moved to the Fylde coast when she was 18 and worked in an ammunition factory in Chorley, and later worked at Preston Station, says she will not hide away.

She added: “I still trust people. Nothing like this has ever happened to me before and I like to see the best in everyone.”

Judge Pamela Badley, sentencing at Preston Crown Court, told Charlie Cawley: “That lady is going to worry every time she sees a fresh faced lad like you near her door in the future.”