Bag-snatcher mugged key worker as she sorted through PPE in parked car

Wayne Taylor

Wayne Taylor was jailed for 26 months at Ipswich Crown Court - Credit: Suffolk Constabulary

A bag-snatcher has been jailed for mugging a key worker as she sat in her car sorting through personal protective equipment during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Wayne Taylor appeared at Ipswich Crown Court on Thursday to admit robbery and two counts of fraud.

The court heard how Taylor and another man approached the care worker's parked car in Blenheim Road, Ipswich, at about 8pm on June 24 last year.

As the yet-to-be identified second male leant through the open passenger-side window and distracted the woman, Taylor appeared on the driver's side of the vehicle, reached inside and turned the steering wheel until it locked.

The 31-year-old, of London Road, Ipswich, then grabbed the woman's handbag from the passenger seat and wrestled it from her grasp until the strap broke.

The bag contained two mobile phones worth a total of £835 and two bank cards, which Taylor fraudulently used to buy £28.51 of alcohol from a convenience store and a branch of Tesco on the same evening.

One of the phones later turned up in a plastic bag found hanging from the car's wing mirror, the court heard.

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Taylor, who was later identified and arrested on July 20, initially admitted the robbery, but claimed to have no recollection of events, having been under the influence of drink and drugs at the time, and as a result of suffering regular epileptic fits.

He later indicated not guilty pleas before magistrates last month, but admitted all three offences at crown court on Thursday.

The court heard how the victim had suffered sleepless nights and a loss of appetite for about a week after the incident. 

Peter Spary, mitigating, said Taylor was genuinely remorseful in police interview and had taken full responsibility for the robbery, which he described as neither sophisticated nor premeditated.

Mr Spary said Taylor had since completely kicked drugs and significantly reduced his alcohol consumption.

Jailing Taylor for a total of 26 months, Judge Emma Peters said the incident must have been "horrifically frightening" for the victim, adding: "When a woman sits in a car, alone, at night, she relies on those around her being decent human beings."