A mum who robbed an OAP with her boyfriend before fleeing the country for five years has been spared prison - because she is pregnant with her second child.
A judge told Adelaida Ioana, 33, that she would avoid a jail sentence because she was pregnant and he did not want her seven-year-old daughter asking "why isn't mummy coming home?"
The "scheming and devious" crook colluded with her boyfriend to steal from a pensioner, aged in her 80s, at a Waitrose supermarket in May 2016, a court heard.
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The couple watched the elderly woman enter her pin number before following her home to steal her credit card when they pretended to ask for directions.
After being arrested and granted bail, she fled the country and remained at large for almost five years before being arrested in Romania.
Ioana was extradited back to Britain to face charges of theft and fraud, which she pleaded guilty to at Warwick Crown Court.
But she was spared prison by a judge who sentenced her to a community order for 18 months and an 8pm-7am curfew for two months.
The court heard Ioana, who had no previous convictions, was now with a new partner and was expecting her second child in November.
What the judge said
Sentencing, Judge Peter Cooke told her: “However horrible your boyfriend at the time was, for you to involve yourself in stealing from a vulnerable old lady in such a scheming and devious way was a wicked thing to do.
“I imagine you’ve got old relatives in your family, and I can imagine how you would feel if someone did that to one of them.
“You were 28 at the time, and I accept you did it when you were under the influence of a thoroughly bad person.
“You are now 33, and I hope the young man you are with now is a different sort of person altogether. I imagine things are on a more stable footing now.
“I am not going to send you to prison today for what you did five years ago, but a significant reason for me being lenient is that you are about to have your second child.
“Even more importantly, your first child is a seven-year-old.
"Your little girl was two when you did what you did to that old lady, and if you had been dealt with at that time she would not have known anything about it.
“But if you conduct yourself in this way now, a seven-year-old little girl is going to wonder why mummy is not coming home.
"That is what you will be facing if you commit such an offence again.”
Elderly woman targeted at Waitrose
The court heard Ioana, now of Forest Gate, East London, targeted the woman as she shopped at a Waitrose supermarket in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warks.
Prosecutor Graeme Simpson said at the checkouts Ioana queued behind her, moving closer as she entered her pin, as a result of which the number was obtained.
Ioana paid for a bottle of water and they followed the pensioner to the car park and then followed her in their car back to her home in Wilmcote, Warks.
As her husband helped her carry the groceries into the house, Ioana and her partner approached them with a map and asked for directions.
They then followed the couple into the house, asking for a glass of water, and while the couple were distracted, one of them stole the bank card from her handbag.
The card was then used to obtain cash from an ATM and was also used at a supermarket before a further attempt to use it at a Chinese restaurant was blocked.
What was said in defence
Jane Carpenter, defending, said Ioana, also spent five days in custody in this country before being bailed with an electronic tag.
She said Ioana’s partner at the time, who has never been caught and is believed to now be wanted in Canada for fraud, was abusive and controlling.
She also claimed he had planned the offence and she felt under pressure to take part.
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