Man jailed for violent attack on 92-year-old woman

A man has been jailed for almost six years for violently robbing a 92-year-old woman, in an attack which left her with several cracked ribs.

Sanchez Edwards, 28, was sentenced to five years and eight months at Wood Green Crown Court for attacking the elderly woman from behind and dragging her two metres along the ground in an attempt to steal her handbag, the Metropolitan Police said.

The incident, which was captured on CCTV, took place on June 27 last year when the victim - who had just been to post a letter - was walking down Hoxton Street in Hackney, north London.

Image taken from CCTV showing the attack (Met Police/PA)
Image taken from CCTV showing the attack (Met Police/PA)

Minutes before the attack, police said Edwards could be seen "prowling behind the unsuspecting victim for around 15 minutes, transfixed and waiting for his opportunity to strike".

Despite screaming and refusing to let go of her handbag, the elderly victim was in so much pain that she eventually released her grip and Edwards ran off with it.

The victim, who had recently lost her husband of 68 years, sustained extensive bruising all over her body and is still too afraid to leave her house, a spokesman added.

Describing herself as "a shadow of her former self", she said the incident has taken away her independence, caused her to have recurring nightmares and inflicted such pain that she still cannot sleep on her left side.

Around the time of the attack Edwards, a paranoid schizophrenic with a prolific history of drug use, was a patient at a medium-secure psychiatric facility in Hackney which he had failed to return to a month earlier.

Injuries sustained by the 92-year-old woman (Met Police/PA)
Injuries sustained by the 92-year-old woman (Met Police/PA)

Sentencing Judge Joanna Greenberg said Edwards had clearly targeted his victim due to her being elderly.

An order was also imposed under the Mental Health Act, and he will remain in a hospital under the supervision of hospital staff.

Doctors will decide when the restriction will cease and he will then serve the remainder of his sentence in prison.

Following the attack, police launched a major investigation and the case was featured on the BBC's Crimewatch programme.

He was eventually identified by several members of the public and in July 2017, officers arrested him in Bethnal Green Gardens, east London.

Detective Inspector Paul Ridley, from Hackney CID, said: "This has been an extremely emotive case with scores of officers working relentlessly to identify and hunt down this dangerous attacker.

"The public also assisted greatly, re-circulating the appeal tens of thousands of times through social media, which led to him being named. The lady has lived her entire life unscathed, yet Edwards' brutal and callous actions have destroyed this in an instant.

"I sincerely hope that the lady is able to re-build her life following this horrific ordeal."