A drug addict thief who preyed on the elderly and vulnerable has been jailed even though a judge was told her sister was terminally ill.
And Rastrick woman Nicola Cliberon, 45, was snared by her elderly victim who turned super sleuth to catch her.
Cliberon has been in prison on remand for more than three months and today (Wed) Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC sentenced her to a total of 18 months in jail for her latest crimes.
Back in November 2015 Cliberon and another woman went to the aid of a 77-year-old man who hit his face on the pavement after collapsing in Halifax town centre.
The pair offered to help the bloodied pensioner back to his nearby flat and made him a cup of tea, but prosecutor Kate Bisset told Bradford Crown Court that while he was in the bathroom feeling sick the two women left.
The next day their victim discovered that money had been taken from his wallet as well as two mobile phones and bottles of champagne.
Miss Bisset said the theft was reported to the police, but eight months later the victim himself turned sleuth in a bid to identify Cliberon when he saw her near his flat.
The court heard how the complainant allowed Cliberon to come in for a cup of tea and started asking her questions in an effort to get details about her.
Miss Bisset said Cliberon left the flat with two bags and her victim realised that bottles of wine and champagne were missing from his hallway and some cash had also been taken.
The complainant followed Cliberon and kept an eye on her while he called the police and he also noted the details of a car which picked her up.
Cliberon, of Highfield Road, Rastrick, denied stealing anything from the complainant when she was arrested in September last year and while she was on bail she was involved in an attempt to steal money from another man, who was described as being vulnerable.
During that incident on Boxing Day her female accomplice threw a punch at the man before he closed the door on them.
Judge Durham Hall said Cliberon had 45 previous convictions for over 120 offences during a 20-year period, but her barrister Anne-Marie Hutton submitted that her latest period on remand had been a significant wake-up call.
Miss Hutton conceded that the court would conclude that the offences were “mean and deeply unpleasant”, but she argued that the real mitigation for her client was her time on remand, her guilty pleas and the circumstances she now found herself in.
She said Cliberon’s sister was now terminally ill with cancer.
Miss Hutton said Cliberon’s offending was the result of her significant drug addiction.
She added: “She didn’t have enough money to pay her bills because of the addiction that she had and she acknowledges that she behaved in an appalling manner, putting herself first, and she knows the court will take an extremely dim view of that.”
Cliberon admitted two charges of theft and one of attempted theft and Judge Durham Hall described Miss Hutton’s mitigation as
“powerful and heart-rending.”
But he said there was no alternative to custody, adding: “The courts cannot continue to put you and your problems above vulnerable members of society because you do not hesitate to prey on others.”
The judge said Cliberon was assessed as posing a high risk of harm to the public and the vulnerable in particular.
Judge Durham Hall said he was truly sorry about her sister’s condition, but told Cliberon:”I find it less palatable that you seek to use that in order to move the court away from its duty.”