Breaking Lancashire Preston

A woman who talked her way into the flat of a vulnerable 87-year-old man, before assaulting and attempting to steal from him has been jailed for 32 months

Claire Townsend, 34, has also been given an indefinite Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO) that prevents her from entering any sheltered housing property in Lancashire, which includes any accommodation specifically designed for the elderly, vulnerable or disabled.

Shortly before 7.30am on July 21, this year, Townsend talked her way into sheltered accommodation, just off Pleasington Street, Blackburn, by asking to use the telephone.
The victim reluctantly let her in but became suspicious when Townsend lost interest in using his phone and instead began looking around his flat. He then felt her touch his back pocket as if she was feeling for his wallet.
When the victim challenged Townsend, she pushed him to the floor and punched him while he lay on the ground.
The victim suffered a significant cut to his elbow, cuts to his ears and was left struggling to walk due to a knee injury.
As she ran from the property, Townsend pushed another vulnerable resident out of the way.
The defendant’s description was quickly circulated and Townsend was picked up on CCTV cameras in Blackburn town centre. She was arrested at 7.38am, less than 10 minutes after police were first contacted about the incident.
At Preston Crown Court earlier this year, Townsend, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actually bodily harm and attempted theft. She was sentenced at the same court on Monday (December 6th).
DC Claire Scott, of East CID, said: “Townsend is a callous woman who deliberately targets the most vulnerable members of society for her appalling criminal behaviour. The victim in this case showed great bravery in fending off Townsend’s attack and it is fortunate that he wasn’t left more seriously injured.
“I would like to thank all my colleagues involved in this case who quickly identified and arrested Townsend before she could wreak any more havoc on the vulnerable people of Blackburn.
“I would also like to thank our colleagues at Blackburn with Darwen Council’s Community Safety Team who successfully applied for this CBO. This order offers the most vulnerable in Lancashire a degree of protection from Townsend when she is released from prison.”