Jail for woman who preyed on elderly Hastings residents

Karima Burnett. Picture courtesy of Sussex Police SUS-181025-112011001
Karima Burnett. Picture courtesy of Sussex Police SUS-181025-112011001

A woman who stole cash and personal items from elderly residents in the Hastings area has been jailed for five years.

Karima Burnett was sentenced at Lewes Crown Court yesterday (Wednesday, October 24), having pleaded guilty to a number of offences which occurred in April.

Police said her victims included a 90-year-old man whom she convinced she was vulnerable and needed financial support to get to Aberdeen.

She accompanied him to the cash point, where he withdrew £200 for her on one occasion, and a further £220 on another occasion, police added.

Days later, on April 9, the victim discovered the same woman in his house in Magdalen Road, St Leonards, with an unknown man, and they asked him for more money.

Without permission, Burnett took £140 from his coat pocket and left the premises, at which point police were contacted.

The previous day, on April 8, police were called after an 87-year-old woman was approached at her home in Denmark Place, Hastings, by Burnett, who asked to use her phone to call her elderly grandmother.

Police said while her victim was distracted, she stole her purse which contained cash, cards, and her wedding and engagement rings from her late husband.

She then used these cards to withdraw cash and pay for products including tobacco in the local area.

Burnett, 32, unemployed and of no fixed address, was arrested by prevention officers in Hastings on April 13, who identified her as a suspect linked to the above cases.

Police said she was convicted of offences including fraud, burglary and attempted robbery, and sentenced to a total of five years’ imprisonment.

She was also required to pay a £150 victim surcharge, and a list of further fraud allegations will lie on file.

Investigating officer Laura Pratt said: “We’re delighted that justice has been served against a despicable woman who preyed on the vulnerable - by convincing them she was vulnerable herself - to steal cash, cards and personal items from them.

“She showed no remorse for her actions and was clearly intent on stealing whatever she could by any means possible.

“While we can in no way criticise the victims for their kind-hearted and trusting nature, we would urge anyone, including elderly residents and their friends, family and neighbours, to be vigilant, and not to be fooled by false stories such as those fabricated by this criminal.”