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Robber battered OAP, 87, in spate of terrifying raids

Drug addict had already served time for killing elderly victim

Killer Lee Roberts and right victim Neville Bassett
Killer Lee Roberts and right victim Neville Bassett

A sadistic robber, once jailed for killing a pensioner, has been sentenced to life after attacking elderly victims once he had forced his way into their homes.

Twisted drug addict Lee Roberts, 33, targeted OAPs aged between 71 and 92 in the Solihull and Yardley areas to steal cash and valuables.

In one brutal raid just days before Christmas he left an 87-year-old needing 13 stitches in her face after dragging her around her home and tying a cushion cover over her head to cover her eyes.

Roberts, of Mason’s Way, Olton, was previously jailed for 11 years in 2004 after he admitted the manslaughter of 90-year-old Neville Bassett. He had died five days after being attacked during a burglary of his home in Broadwell Road, Hobs Moat.

Roberts was handed a life sentence at Birmingham Crown court last week after he pleaded guilty to four robberies and one burglary.

He was told he must serve a minimum term of six years and nine months for the brutal offences, which took place between December last year and January. In another robbery Roberts left a 73-year-old woman with a broken finger and medics had to cut a treasured ring from her hand.

Another victim was a 92-year-old dementia sufferer who did not understand what was happening when the raider ransacked her home.

Judge Roderick Henderson said Roberts posed a serious risk to the public and his crimes had a devastating effect on his victims.

“One of the most serious aspects is you chose to go back to this sort of crime, picking on vulnerable, elderly people,” said the judge,

“You used whatever violence was necessary to get whatever you could get from them. Your previous offending resulted in the death of one person, that should have given you a clear message.

“It is not the amount taken or the physical injuries, but the devastating effect on their lives.”

Roberts’ defence team claimed after his release from prison in 2010 he had found a job but was dismissed when his criminal past came to light. Soon afterwards he fell back into a life of addiction and turned to crime to fund his habit.

But in a victim impact statement one of his elderly targets said: “I’ve lived in my house for 45 years and I’ve never felt like this.

“I always check my window before I go to bed to make sure he’s not waiting outside.

“I think it’s horrible this man has made me feel this way.”

Investigating officer DC Arran Cox, from Solihull Police CID, said: “These were terrifying ordeals for his victims: they were threatened, assaulted and had to watch as their homes were ransacked.

“He has a track record of nasty rush robberies and has already served many years in prison after one victim, who he left with broken ribs, died from pneumonia as a result of his injuries.”

 

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