A violent offender dragged a widow along the road and left an 81-year-old woman covered in cuts and bruises in two “vicious” robberies in Cardiff.
Andrew Tanetta followed both lone victims into the bank before trailing them out on to the street and forcefully snatching their handbags, knocking them to the ground in broad daylight.
Sentencing him at Cardiff Crown Court , Judge Neil Bidder QC said: “There is no doubt in my mind that both these victims were targeted due to perceived vulnerability.”
The court heard the first robbery happened in Roath around 11.30am on Thursday, August 29.
Gareth James, prosecuting, said victim Susan Phillips parked in Penylan Road and walked to Halifax bank on Albany Road.
The court heard Mrs Phillips, who was 58, went to withdraw money for a holiday.
CCTV showed Tanetta “loitering” in the area and Mr James said: “Unfortunately she was being closely observed.”
Prosecutors said he put his bike down and paid close attention as she put the cash into an envelope in her handbag.
The defendant then followed her to Barclays bank on Wellfield Road and back to her car.
Mr James said: “He got between her and the car. The defendant dropped his bike to the ground and snatched her handbag from her, causing her to fall.
“It was quite a violent struggle as Mrs Phillips was dragged along the floor.”
The court heard she desperately tried to cling on to her bag, shouting: “You’re not having it. You’re not having it.”
She suffered injuries including a fracture to her forearm, a grazed hip, bruised legs, swelling to her cheek and pain in her shoulder and wrist.
In a statement summarised in court, she said she had lived in Cardiff all her life and felt shocked this had happened in an area she knew well.
The court heard she had recently been widowed and the cash came from her husband’s savings.
She said she lost 7kg following the robbery, as the anxiety aggravated a health condition and she is also struggling to sleep.
Mrs Phillips said she now feels nervous if anyone walks too close to her in the street and she recently broke down when someone cycled past her, as it brought back memories of the incident.
Her handbag was later found abandoned and still had her passport inside. The cash was not there, although the envelopes were and they were found to have the defendant’s fingerprints on them.
Tanetta, who was known to the police, fled the scene on his bike, but was traced and linked to the robbery through his DNA.
The incident was caught on dash cam by passing driver Waqas Haq, who called the police, pursued the defendant and later identified him.
Judge Bidder gave him a £50 reward to be presented by the High Sheriff. He said: “It may be a small amount, but it is to mark a very public spirited act by Mr Haq.”
A second similar robbery happened less than a month later around 2pm on Wednesday, September 25.
The court heard Deanne Pickstone, 81, parked in Ladysmith Road and went to Barclays to withdraw money from the cash point, which she put in her bag.
Prosecutors said the defendant approached her and told her she had left her card in the cash machine, although she knew she had not.
Mr James said Tanetta followed her out of the bank to Lloyds Pharmacy, where the assistant noticed the defendant was acting suspiciously and warned her to be careful.
Mrs Pickstone said she looked in both directions when she left the shop and did not see him, so walked towards the pedestrian crossing.
The prosecutor said: “She felt force on her bag being pulled backwards.”
Mrs Pickstone screamed as she recognised the man she saw in the bank and pharmacy. She described the force as “vicious” and said the robbery happened very quickly.
Prosecutors said she released her grip on her bag as she tried to break her fall and landed on her hip.
She was taken to hospital, where she was treated for severe swelling and bruising to her leg, as well as cuts to her arms.
In a statement, she said she used to be confident and sociable, but now feels like she has lost her independence because she is scared of seeing him again.
Mrs Pickstone added: “I am not as strong as I used to be. The incident really shook me.”
She said she and her husband no longer feel safe in their own home and she is terrified the defendant would attack her if she saw him again.
These offenders were locked up last month:
Tanetta jumped into someone’s garden and even ran into their home as he tried to flee from the police. He could not outrun the officers and was arrested. He gave a “no comment” interview.
Prosecutors said he had 79 previous offences on his record, including assault occasioning actual bodily harm, burglary and theft. He was previously jailed for 28 months for robbery.
Tanetta, 36, from Pearl Street in Adamsdown , admitted two counts of robbery.
David Rees, defending, pointed out his client had his head bowed throughout the hearing and said he was “deeply ashamed” of his behaviour.
He said his life “spiralled downwards dramatically” as he grieved for his mother and sister and away from his addiction to Class A drugs, he was “mortified” by what he did.
Judge Bidder said: “You have a long list of convictions, including violence. It is a very, very bad record. Very significant force was used in both robberies.”
Tanetta was jailed for nine years and eight months and ordered to pay a £181 victim surcharge.