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Syringe held to neck of Ramsgate widow, 91, as robber demanded wedding ring

A menacing thug demanded a 91-year-old widow hand over her wedding ring while holding a liquid-filled syringe to her neck.

Mark Ellis and an accomplice talked their way into the housebound pensioner's home in Ramsgate by pretending to be friends of her late husband.

Mark Ellis has been jailed for the despicable robbery
Mark Ellis has been jailed for the despicable robbery

Once inside, they stole £160 cash and a bank card from her handbag, before Ellis ordered her to give him her wedding band.

Fortunately, the terrified woman had given the ring to one of her three children.

She was then pushed to the ground as she tried to telephone for help.

Drug addict Ellis then took a syringe filled with a clear liquid and held it close to her neck, while threatening to spray her cats.

Fearing it was full of acid, she pleaded: "Not my cats."

"This was a disgusting offence - you should be thoroughly ashamed..." - Judge David Griffith-Jones

She later told police officers: "I honestly believed they were going to kill me."

After the frightening incident, the victim gave an amazingly accurate description of the suspects and police were able to release a computer image which resembled Ellis.

Prosecutor Gareth Burrows said the victim was so frightened she stayed away from her home for a number of weeks, telling the judge: "This has taken my whole world from underneath me."

Ellis stood with his head bowed in the dock as a judge told him: "This was a disgusting offence - you should be thoroughly ashamed."

Bricklayer Ellis, of King Edward Road, Ramsgate replied: "I am."

Maidstone Crown Court
Maidstone Crown Court

The 55-year-old, who admitted robbery, has 129 previous convictions, mainly for burglaries.

The court heard how since his arrest he has tackled his heroin addiction and plans to take care of his father when he is released.

His barrister, Daniel Smith, praised the victim for being "sharp, intelligent and active" in providing the computer image.

"This was a very very unattractive offence involving a vulnerable victim," he said.

"He is deeply ashamed of what he has done."

Judge David Griffith-Jones QC jailed Ellis for seven years, telling him he had targeted an infirmed and housebound victim using subterfuge to gain access to her home.

"She was terrified and in any view this must have been a horrifying experience which left your victim traumatised," he added.

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