by Ian Britton on Flickr – click for original

A couple who targeted the homes of elderly people in Frankley and Longbridge have been jailed for burglary at Birmingham Crown Court.

Anthony Ashwell, 40, of Honiton Crescent, Northfield broke into the homes of two elderly women in Longbridge and Frankley in April and May this year. He repeatedly denied the charges in interviews with the police but eventually pleaded guilty to both offences in court and was sentenced to three years and nine months in prison yesterday (18 October).

The court heard that he was caught committing the offence on CCTV, which had been installed by one of the victims. Ashwell ripped the camera from the wall in a bid to evade identification.

Meanwhile Ashwell’s girlfriend, 18-year-old Rebecca Bird, of Carshelton Road, Kingstanding, was jailed for three years on 5 October after admitting breaking into the home of an 84-year-old widow.

The court heard how she and another man searched the victim’s home in Frankley for money on 8 June. When they could not find anything, Bird grabbed the victim’s hand as she lay in her bed and forcibly removed a wedding ring from her finger.

The victim was left so frightened that she could not press her panic alarm and only reported the incident to her carers the following day.

In court the victim told how she was now terrified by the slightest noise and cannot bear the night time. She stated that she was now without the wedding ring that she had not taken off since getting married in 1947.

Sentencing Bird, His Honour Judge Plunkett described the crime as ‘appalling’.

Detective Sergeant Sue Whitehouse, from Force CID, said: “This ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ duo clearly targeted the elderly to fund their drug habit, stealing items of high value which were then quickly disposed of.

“Not only have their victims lost very personal and sentimental jewellery that can never be replaced, but they have also been unnerved by the intrusion in their homes.

“The actions of Bird and Ashwell were wicked and appalling and I hope their victims can take some solace from the sentences passed.”

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