A FAMILY devastated by the death of a great-great-grandmother saw a callous thief who stole from her finally brought to justice a few days later. 

The family of 92-year-old Mary Richardson say the actions of heartless thief Vilma Williams had a big effect on her and believes the crime may have contributed to her death. 

The arrest came after the family set up cameras in the room and kept a note of the serial numbers on the cash she had in her purse.

Williams, of Southdown Road, Worcester, admitted stealing £30 from Mary Richardson when the pair were both residents at Bilford Court Sheltered Housing home, Worcester, on March 18. 

Grandson Tom Rimmer was in court on Thursday (August 24) to see Williams be sentenced despite grieving for Mary who died on Saturday, August 19. 

He explained how the family caught the thief after suspicions had been raised about her behaviour.

"The pair lived at flats for eight years at the home," he said.

"She lured my nan into the false pretence she was caring for her, supporting her. 

"She became extra close to her."

Mr Rimmer said Mary was housebound and the family would take her state pension in cash. 

But after having suspicions over missing money, they decided to install cameras in her room.

They caught Williams in the act pretending to go to the bathroom but instead stealing the money. 

Worcester News: CAUGHT: Vilma Williams caught on CCTV camera stealingCAUGHT: Vilma Williams caught on CCTV camera stealing (Image: Submitted)

"I'd made a note of all the serial numbers of the cash given to her," Mr Rimmer said. 

"We watched the camera live. 

"We called the police, I went with them. We checked the handbag, the money had gone missing. 

"Police arrested her - she had the money with the serial numbers in her possession."

Mr Rimmer said after finding out about the theft the victim moved out of her home. 

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"She didn't want to live in her own flat, she was too scared and didn't feel safe," he said. 

"It massively accelerated her deterioration. It had a massive impact on her."

After hearing the severity of the crime at Worcester Magistrates Court Deputy District Judge Peter Hayes sentenced 75-year-old Williams to eight weeks jail, suspended for 18 months.

Worcester News: THIEF: Vilma Williams stole money from another resident at Bilford Court, WorcesterTHIEF: Vilma Williams stole money from another resident at Bilford Court, Worcester (Image: Sam Greenway/Newsquest)

As part of the suspended sentence order Williams has been ordered to do 150 hours unpaid work, and will pay costs of £154 and victim surcharge of £135. 

Mr Rimmer, from Worcester, said the suspended jail sentence was more than they thought the defendant would get thanking the judge who recognised the impact the case had on his grandmother. 

"The judge said it was one of the worst examples of breach of trust he could think of," Mr Rimmer said. 

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The family warned people to be vigilant and look out for elderly relatives. 

"My nan spent her life wanting to help people," he said.

"If she can help someone else and stop another crime that's what she would have wanted."

Marion Duffy, chief operations officer at Platform Housing which runs the home, said: “We send our sincere condolences to the family of our former resident Mary Richardson and we will continue to offer them and the rest of our community at Bilford Court any support they need.”