Killed for the price of a fix

Issue 499

A DRUG addict who killed an elderly Gomersal woman while stealing her handbag has been jailed for eight and a half years.
Paul Halstead, of Shirley Parade, had previously admitted the manslaughter of 89yearold devout churchgoer Jean Myers.
He was sentenced at Leeds Crown Court on Tuesday over the attack in Quarry Road as Mrs Myers walked home from a shopping trip in June.
Mrs Myers, who served in the Women’s Auxillary Air Force in World War Two, fell over and hit her head on the ground. She suffered a fractured skull and died later at Bradford Royal Infirmary. Her handbag contained just £15.94.
St Mary’s Church parishioner Mrs Myers was well known for her community work, including reading stories to children at local schools.
Halstead, who also pleaded guilty to robbing Mrs Myers and another woman on June 17, said in a police interview he was addicted to heroin.
Mehran Nassiri, prosecuting, said Halstead was spending £100 a day on heroin and was looking for cash to pay for his next fix.
A second victim, 22, tried to stop him taking her bag but the strap broke. A passerby and offduty policeman Mark Nicholson gave chase and arrested him.
Judge Mr Justice Foskett said in sentencing that it was clear Halstead had not intended to kill Mrs Myers. He added: “But if you gave a moment’s thought, you’d have realised the risk you were taking in doing what you did to an elderly person.
“Mrs Myers was unable to keep her balance in the attack and fell to the pavement. She died in hospital just five hours later. To lose someone such as Mrs Myers, who was still fit, active and lively, in these circumstances caused unimaginable grief to her family.
“She has been deprived of several more years of active life by what you did. It was a moment of selfishness driven by your addition.
“At least now you know what effect this has had on Mrs Myers and her family.
“You should remember that for the rest of you life.”
DCI Simon Bottomley, of West Yorkshire Police’s homicide and major enquiry team, added afterwards: “We’re pleased with the sentence handed out.
“It sends a clear message to those involved in such robberies. People can die and ultimately the police will catch up with you.” He added: “I would also like to thank the public, especially passerby and the offduty officer who helped detain Halstead, for their help in bringing him to justice.”

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