A woman has been jailed after mugging a terrified 82-year-old pensioner and cutting her handbag strap off her with a pair of scissors.
The elderly woman had been in Aberdeen city centre with her daughter before withdrawing £100 from an ATM and going their separate ways.
Kelly McAleer approached the pensioner on Jasmine Way and initially asked for directions before brazenly whipping out a pair of scissors and cutting the handbag off the woman, who froze in fear.
The 37-year-old even told the vulnerable elderly woman “I’m taking your handbag” before legging it away from the scene of the attack on July 22.
Fiscal depute Felicity Merson told Aberdeen Sheriff Court the pensioner had been in Aberdeen city centre with her daughter and withdrawn £100 from a cash machine around 2.30pm.
The woman put the money in her handbag, which she wore with the strap across her body, along with her mobile phone and other items.
Mrs Merson said the woman’s daughter then went into Morrisons while the pensioner continued on her own and made her way across King Street onto Jasmine Way.
The fiscal depute said: “The complainer was just outside a block of flats when she became aware of the accused standing behind her.”
McAleer asked the woman for directions, but when she was unable to help she “continued to stand there” until the woman started to turn away.
Mrs Merson said: “The complainer saw scissors in the accused’s hand and froze in fear.
“The accused started cutting the strap to her handbag, advising ‘I’m taking your handbag’.”
McAleer then ran off while the elderly lady made her way back to Morrisons to find her daughter and police were contacted.
The handbag was later recovered but was missing the cash. McAleer’s DNA was found on the bag.
McAleer was traced a few days later and found to still be in possession of the scissors.
She told officers she had taken valium and had “poor recollection” of the incident, and also claimed the scissors other drug taking paraphernalia.
McAleer, a prisoner of HMP Grampian, pled guilty to charges of assault and robbery and possession of a pair of scissors in a public place.
Defence agent Graham Morrison said drugs featured heavily in his client’s record of previous offences.
He said she had been making progress in staying away from drugs but added: “Two weeks before this offence her best friend died. She just dropped back into drug abuse.
“When she’s interviewed by the police she has no recollection of the offence.
“She had no idea whether she’d done it or not.
“As soon as she sees the proof that it was her she instructed me to plead guilty.”
He added that sort of offence was “out of character” for her.
Mr Morrison said: “She’s appalled and embarrassed. It’s a very shameful crime.”
Sheriff William Summers jailed McAleer for 20 months.