24th Oct, 2020

Prison for bag-snatcher who dragged Rugby pensioner along ground

Rugby Editorial 25th Jun, 2015 Updated: 27th Oct, 2016

A PENSIONER was dragged along the ground when a heroin addict grabbed her handbag in the street.

Warwick Crown Court heard that heroin has ‘destroyed absolutely everything’ in mother-of-two Natalie Flowers’ life as she committed offences out of desperation for the drug.

Flowers, 27, of Holbrooks Road, Long Lawford, was jailed for four years after pleading guilty to offences of robbery and attempted robbery.

Antonie Muller, prosecuting, said that on April 27 a woman in her 70s got into a struggle when Flowers appeared behind her and grabbed her handbag in Rugby town centre.

When the elderly lady tried to hang on to it, she was pulled to the ground and dragged along, bruising her thigh, elbow and chin.

The woman, who had undergone knee replacement surgery some time before, had to let go of her bag and saw Flowers running off with it.

Earlier that day near the John Barford multi-storey car park, Flowers used threatening language when trying to snatch bags from a 54-year-old woman who describes herself as being ‘long-term sick’.

Flowers gave up when the woman – who said she feared she was going to be stabbed when Flowers rummaged through her own bag – resisted.

Flowers was caught after rifling through the stolen handbag at the Addaction drug recovery organisation in Regent Place, where she told staff she needed to get a ‘script’ and was asked to wait in the waiting room.

When staff returned, Flowers had gone – but the handbag was found in the toilets.

When police checked a CCTV camera they recognised Flowers entering the Addaction premises.

She was arrested shortly afterwards and said she was ‘ill’ from her heroin habit and needed money to buy drugs, adding that she had taken £20 from the bag in the toilets at Addaction.

Mr Muller pointed out that at the time Flowers was on bail for shoplifting, and seven days earlier had appeared before magistrates for failing to comply with a community order for two offences of theft including snatching a handbag in a supermarket.

Nick Devine, defending, said when she was younger Flowers had been a trouble-maker, but had settled down and not been in trouble since 2007.

“Then in 2013-14 drugs reared their ugly head, and she starts committing the sort of offences which are all too prevalent among addicts.

“Heroin has destroyed absolutely everything in her life. But without drugs, she can lead a useful and productive life. She has been in custody for some time, and has placed herself on a drug rehab course.”

Jailing Flowers, Judge Sylvia de Bertodano told her: “This is very frightening and shocking for people when it happens to them, particularly elderly people. They have got every right to go and do their shopping without being set about by you.

“It is a sad story I have read about you. Heroin has ruined your life, it has ripped apart your family; but you know I have to send you to prison.”

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