Robber whose frail victim, 81, later died is jailed for her ‘cowardly’ killing

Robber whose frail victim, 81, later died is jailed for her ‘cowardly’ killing

A robber whose frail pensioner victim died a month after he stole her purse has been jailed for manslaughter after detectives linked her death to the incident.

Drug addict Robert Vickers, who has multiple convictions for theft, was sentenced to nine and a half years in prison on Monday, West Midlands Police said.

His victim, 81-year-old Ann Preston, suffered a dislocated shoulder and was seriously injured after Vickers dragged her to the ground while stealing her bag.

Ms Preston’s partner said after the sentencing at Birmingham Crown Court that Vickers robbed her not only of her belongings but also of her life, calling her death “entirely unnecessary”.

The incident came after 42-year-old Vickers contacted Ms Preston in Bromwall Road, Birmingham, near her home on January 31, 2020.

He initially asked her for directions, but then followed her before launching his attack, which also left his victim with a broken rib.

Officers located him after identifying him from CCTV of the incident.

Meanwhile, Ms Preston’s health deteriorated and she died on February 27, 2020, almost a month after the attack.

Vickers was arrested, charged and later admitted to the robbery while jailed for more than six years in July 2020.

In court, Ms Preston had made a statement before her death, highlighting the significant impact Vickers’ actions had on her life and recounting how she felt unable to leave her home after the attack.

However, investigators continued to work on the case, gathering medical evidence that led to Vickers being charged with manslaughter, which he admitted in December last year.

The verdict was made at Birmingham Crown Court (Chris Radburn/PA).

Vickers’ new sentence was added to the time he was already serving for robbery while receiving a five-year extended license term that will be applied upon his release from prison.

In a victim impact statement released by police after the sentencing, Ms Preston’s partner Brian said: “My beloved partner, who was 35, died alone in hospital after weeks of suffering and pain.

“Not only did she suffer a violent robbery in which her bag was ripped from her arm, her horrific injuries and death were entirely unnecessary.

“This man not only stole her purse, he took her life and my life.”

Detective Constable Emily Sparkes said: “This was a cowardly attack on a vulnerable woman which deprived Ann of her belongings and ultimately her life.

“Thanks to the hard work of investigators, we were able to build a case against Robert Vickers and ensure he was tried for manslaughter.

“We hope that news of this conviction can bring some comfort and closure to Ann’s family and friends.”

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