Widow, 86, ‘feels locked inside house’ after thief asked to use her toilet and went on to steal jewellery

“I now feel I’m locked inside the house. I am terrified to go out and I am terrified to stay in. Now, I don’t trust anyone,” the pensioner said

An 86-year-old widow said she felt “locked inside her house” after a thief asked to use her toilet and went on to steal precious jewellery from her home.

The pensioner recognised Vickie Gillespie, 38, from around the local area and so let her in when she asked, the Sunderland Echo reports.

Sign up to our NationalWorld Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The elderly woman realised £1,300 of property was gone when Gillespie left her home - including a watch that belonged to the victim’s mother and a Nomination bracelet with four precious charms.

Gillespie had passed the stolen property to a loan shark as payment for a debt, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

Widow ‘doesn’t trust anyone’

In a heart-breaking impact statement, the victim said: "I am an 86-year-old female who lives alone since the passing of my husband.

"Had he been here this wouldn’t have happened.

"I now feel I’m locked inside the house.

"I am terrified to go out and I am terrified to stay in.

"Now, I don’t trust anyone."

The pensioner received a £1,300 insurance payout but said the sentimental items can never be replaced.

Gillespie asked pensioner to use the toilet

The court heard the victim had been sitting in the dining room at her home in Easington Lane, Sunderland, on July 21 and had her patio doors open.

Gillespie approached and spoke to her for a few minutes then asked to use the toilet.

She was allowed in and spent around 15 minutes upstairs before she left without saying goodbye.

The victim realised later that night that her property had been taken.

Gillespie, of George Street, Hetton, who has convictions for 42 previous offences, admitted theft from a dwelling.

‘She has never, ever felt unsafe in her home until now’

Vickie Gillespie.

Mr Recorder Keir Monteith QC told Gillespie, who has spent time in custody on remand, that the offence was "disgusting".

The judge told Gillespie: "She has lived in that house almost half a century and never, ever felt unsafe until now.

"She is scared to live there, in constant fear that you or your friends are going to come back.

"She feels betrayed and doesn’t trust anyone anymore."

Gillespie was sentenced to 20 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with programme requirements and a lifelong restraining order to keep her away from the victim.

A message from the editor:

Thank you for reading. NationalWorld is a new national news brand, produced by a team of journalists, editors, video producers and designers who live and work across the UK. Find out more about who’s who in the team, and our editorial values. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going.