March 15 2014 Latest news:
Friday, January 24, 2014
A prolific conman who preyed on the elderly and robbed a fast food restaurant in Norwich is today beginning an eight-year jail term.
Daniel Parker, 33, of no fixed address, was jailed for a string of offences in the city to feed his drug habit.
Norwich Crown Court heard how Parker had targeted Subway in Magdalen Street on December 11, and took £100 after pretending to have a gun in his jacket.
He then stole £150 from a 90-year-old Second World War veteran, who lived in Pelham Road, north Norwich, on December 15 before stealing £100 and a bank card from an 83-year-old woman in nearby Don Pratt Court just five days later. Parker used the card to withdraw £400 from her account.
On both occasions the conman tricked his way into the properties by making up false stories about why he was there.
Parker had previously pleaded guilty to the robbery, three charges of burglary, one attempted burglary and possession of heroin and asked for 24 other offences to be taken into account.
He was jailed for eight years for robbery and was given three-year sentences to run concurrently for the thefts.
Judge Mark Lucraft said: “These are very serious burglaries. You targeted vulnerable and elderly people in their own homes. Once inside their properties you distracted them and stole money and items from them.
“You took advantage of people’s generosity which has been as much of a cause for concern as the amount of money you have taken. You saw the people as easy targets and that has severely impacted on their confidence.”
The judge heard how Parker – who has a long list of previous convictions committed while living in West London – had turned his life around after being released from jail and moving to Norfolk about four years ago.
However, he was described as having “fallen off the wagon” following the breakdown of the relationship with his wife, with whom he has a four-year-old child, in August last year.
The Subway robbery took place when Parker walked into the sandwich giant, wearing a scarf to hide his face, and told the employee: “I’m not being funny mate,” before handing him a note which instructed he had a gun in his pocket and to empty the till.
Chris Youell, prosecuting, described how the distraction burglar had tried to trick his way into the veteran’s home by pretending to sell stamps. When that failed he complained of a bad stomach to gain access.
“Mr Parker claimed he was having difficulty using the kitchen tap and asked the man to get some water for him,” said Mr Youell.
“He was concerned for Mr Parker’s well-being and went from the living room into the kitchen which created the opportunity for him to steal. When he got back, Mr Parker was gone, he had left the front door open, and the sideboard drawer was open, with £150 cash missing from it.”
The trickster offered to buy the woman some milk on December 20 and when he returned to collect the money, once again asked for a glass of water after entering her home. He pocketed £100 and her debit card while she was out of the room.
On the same day he gained entry to a neighbour’s home by claiming he had some chocolates he needed to deliver. The wheelchair-using 82-year-old was unable to change up some money Mr Parker claimed he wanted to donate to charity because his son controls his finances.
Parker initially denied all of the offences during police interview but confessed when his DNA fingerprint was found on a glass at a victim’s home.
Andrew Cogan, mitigating, said: “The offending is all related to his misuse of Class A drugs, heroin and crack cocaine, and to fund his habit and the need to pay dealers. Mr Parker has had time for reflection and this lifestyle is something he never wants to get involved with again in the future.
“Some difficulties last year saw Mr Parker getting into drug issues again but he appears to have overcome them. He is deeply ashamed and truly remorseful of the effect his actions would have had on these people.”
After the case, Det Chief Insp Dennis Lacey, of Norwich CID, said: “Parker preyed on vulnerable elderly victims who lived alone and the sentence passed reflects the gravity of his offences.
“No one was injured during the incident in Subway but this was a frightening experience for staff who were understandably left shaken by what had happened.
“Parker is now behind bars where he belongs and I hope this sentence offers some comfort to his victims.”