As Polish man admits robbery charge, his victim, 74, is left "anxious, worried and lonely"

The Northern Echo: Marek Olszewski Marek Olszewski

A PENSIONER who had her £24,000 life savings snatched in a mugging got most of it back - after two different thieves overlooked the bundles of cash.

Burly robber Marek Olszewski swiped the 74-year-old's bag after seeing her with a bundle of notes in a Darlington bookmakers.

He dumped the plastic carrier in woods once he had taken a purse containing £4,000, Teesside Crown Court was told yesterday (Monday).

What the 34-year-old factory worker did not know was that there was a further £20,000 wrapped in tea towels inside the bag.

Days later, someone else stumbled across the discarded loot and took jewellery after rifling through it - but again missed the money.

Police last night told of the "remarkable" case, but revealed how the victim has been left terrified and wanting to leave the country.

The petite mother-of-five is afraid to go out in the dark, and described in a statement how she is "anxious, worried and lonely".

Six-foot production line worker Olszewski was jailed for four years and appeared emotional in the dock as details of his November 22 crime were revealed in court.

The judge described them as "a mismatch" and told Olszewski: "The impact of this offending has affected her greatly."

Jim Withyman, mitigating, said he needed money to go to Poland to see his ill father after a mercy call from his mother.

The judge, Recorder Richard Woolfall, told Olszewski: "This is a serious offence because you targeted a vulnerable lady."

The court heard how the woman - widowed just five weeks earlier - had gone into a town centre bookmakers to place a £100 bet. Olszewski saw her take her stake from a huge bundle of notes and followed her outside and onto a bus on Tubwell Row.

Prosecutor, Harry Hadfield, said he got off at the same stop several miles away, and struggled to snatch her bag.

Witnesses later told police of a dramatic tug-of-war as the plucky pensioner desperately tried to cling onto her valuables.

One said she was dragged across the road as she refused to let Olszewski take her bag, Mr Hadfield told the court.

The victim was left with bruising and cuts to her arm, and still suffers from headaches and pain her shoulder and knee.

In her statement, she says: "I find it difficult to sleep at night and the slightest noise frightens me."

She added: "I feel anxious, worried and lonely, I dare not go out in the dark any more. I'm frightened, especially when I get off a bus."

After the attack, police found CCTV footage of the suspect from the bus and bookies, and put "most wanted" posters in nearby shops.

Within an hour of the displays going up, people had called to name Olszewski and tell detectives where he worked.

He was arrested at the Husqvarna factory in nearby Newton Aycliffe wearing the same jacket seen on the CCTV pictures.

Mr Hadfield told the court that he was upset, and asked Detective Constable Mick Trodden: "How did you find me?"

After the hearing, the detective told The Northern Echo: "This was a truly remarkable case which has left the victim terrified.

"The impact on her has been profound. The fact that two people intent on being dishonest missed the main prize is amazing."

Detective Sergeant Andy Crowe added: "Within an hour of putting the posters up with his face on, we had his name.

"We solved this crime with the help of the community. The community spirit has been second to none, and we'd like to thank them."

The court heard that Olszewski was desperate for cash after his mother called him to say his father was seriously ill.

Mr Withyman said he used the money he took to pay for a return flight to Warsaw and for his father's medical treatment.

He said: "His father was very poorly back in Poland and he didn't have the money. That forced him to act in this way.

"His mother said 'please come back as quickly as possible' so he was looking for quick money.

"He realises the irony that it was an elderly lady he took the money from. He accepts he was not thinking properly and acting out of character.

"He wishes to apologise to the victim and to the court. He is greatly embarrassed for what he has done. He realises how awful it was."

The court heard how Olszewski followed the victim onto the bus, and struck within seconds of her getting off.

After taking the purse, he threw away the bag in trees close to Darlington Golf Club, Mr Hadfield told the court.

Later, another man found the bags and took two bracelets - described as "keepsakes" by the prosecutor - but overlooked the cash.

Police traced the second man through a pawnbrokers where he cashed in the jewellery, and they were led to the bag.

The victim says in her statement that she is glad the belonging and the bulk of her money has been found.

She explained that she was still grieving the death of her husband, and the cash was to pay for the education of her grandchildren.

Mr Recorder Woolfall said: "That is money you used to pay for your flight back to Poland and for medical treatment for your father.

"Your family must have been mortified to have learned how you managed to have returned home and pay for your father's care.

"It is clear she was of some age, and you were much bigger and stronger than her . . . it was quite a mis-match.

"It is clear from your behaviour in the dock that your remorse is genuine. Your good character indicates this was wholly out of character."

Olszewski, of Station Road, Darlington, admitted a charge of robbery, and now faces deportation.

Comments (15)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

6:57am Tue 11 Feb 14

drainman says...

Send him back to his homeland as he has now lost any entitlement to be here.
Send him back to his homeland as he has now lost any entitlement to be here. drainman
  • Score: 99

8:31am Tue 11 Feb 14

your joking says...

He mugged an old lady because he wanted the money to return to Poland. I'm all in favour of sending him back for good. No problem, wish granted!
He mugged an old lady because he wanted the money to return to Poland. I'm all in favour of sending him back for good. No problem, wish granted! your joking
  • Score: 81

9:05am Tue 11 Feb 14

Darkroom Devil says...

Why oh why would anyone carry so much money on them then show a large amount while making a small purchase? There's part of the problem.
Why oh why would anyone carry so much money on them then show a large amount while making a small purchase? There's part of the problem. Darkroom Devil
  • Score: 31

9:31am Tue 11 Feb 14

banmeandilljustregisterwithanewname says...

Jail him, then deport him.
Jail him, then deport him. banmeandilljustregisterwithanewname
  • Score: 53

9:42am Tue 11 Feb 14

oliviaden6 says...

Show him the door bugger his human rights he forfeited those when he did the crime, Just how are these criminals getting into our fair land havn't we got enough of our own bandits?
Show him the door bugger his human rights he forfeited those when he did the crime, Just how are these criminals getting into our fair land havn't we got enough of our own bandits? oliviaden6
  • Score: 47

10:50am Tue 11 Feb 14

Jackaranda says...

drainman wrote:
Send him back to his homeland as he has now lost any entitlement to be here.
How dare you Sir, these people are entitled to be here!! They enrich our culture!! They pay more in taxes than they take out of the system!!
Just joking, you are right, or better still, shoot the b*stard.
[quote][p][bold]drainman[/bold] wrote: Send him back to his homeland as he has now lost any entitlement to be here.[/p][/quote]How dare you Sir, these people are entitled to be here!! They enrich our culture!! They pay more in taxes than they take out of the system!! Just joking, you are right, or better still, shoot the b*stard. Jackaranda
  • Score: 45

12:05pm Tue 11 Feb 14

delboy1977 says...

Why is there always a sob story ???????? he had a job so why didnt he do what everyone else has to do when they need a large amount of money fast,,,,,get a loan and work more hours or take a second job, The Great in Great Britain is long gone we are in a total mess
Why is there always a sob story ???????? he had a job so why didnt he do what everyone else has to do when they need a large amount of money fast,,,,,get a loan and work more hours or take a second job, The Great in Great Britain is long gone we are in a total mess delboy1977
  • Score: 41

3:09pm Tue 11 Feb 14

Hunty1 says...

I agree with everyone on here, but I also want to say that carrying large amounts of cash around is silly. If this lady was my mother I would be ensuring she had help as I think she needs some support. It's obvious she must be still in bereavement and cannot be thinking clearly. I'm afraid society will always have opportunists and clearly this guy was presented with an opportunity, doesn't matter what his nationality is he could of been any one from any race it just happened to be him. Very sad for the lady and also sad that she now feels she wants to leave her home town..
I agree with everyone on here, but I also want to say that carrying large amounts of cash around is silly. If this lady was my mother I would be ensuring she had help as I think she needs some support. It's obvious she must be still in bereavement and cannot be thinking clearly. I'm afraid society will always have opportunists and clearly this guy was presented with an opportunity, doesn't matter what his nationality is he could of been any one from any race it just happened to be him. Very sad for the lady and also sad that she now feels she wants to leave her home town.. Hunty1
  • Score: 9

3:52pm Tue 11 Feb 14

Chloe 123 says...

Scum! I don't care if he needed money to go to Poland...you are lucky enough to have a job here, get a loan or save like the rest of us!...how much can a plane ticket to Poland be anyway?? ...Not enough to mug a defenseless old lady ....Greed motivated this crime, he probably has a criminal record in Poland too!. Deport him now to a prison over there and save our taxes!
Scum! I don't care if he needed money to go to Poland...you are lucky enough to have a job here, get a loan or save like the rest of us!...how much can a plane ticket to Poland be anyway?? ...Not enough to mug a defenseless old lady ....Greed motivated this crime, he probably has a criminal record in Poland too!. Deport him now to a prison over there and save our taxes! Chloe 123
  • Score: 25

4:31pm Tue 11 Feb 14

oneguyh says...

OK he has had his chance of a better life and he has f***ed it up. Jail him and send the b*****d back to where he belongs because he isn't welcome here.
OK he has had his chance of a better life and he has f***ed it up. Jail him and send the b*****d back to where he belongs because he isn't welcome here. oneguyh
  • Score: 19

5:52pm Tue 11 Feb 14

grandmab says...

I do not understand why she was carrying such a large amount of cash. It is unlikely the bank would have let her withdraw such a large amount without offering advice about the safety concerns of carrying it as cash. If she wanted to give it to her grandkids she could have given them a cheque. If she didn't have any the bank would have given her a bank cheque. So glad she got most of it back and agree he should not be allowed to remain.
I do not understand why she was carrying such a large amount of cash. It is unlikely the bank would have let her withdraw such a large amount without offering advice about the safety concerns of carrying it as cash. If she wanted to give it to her grandkids she could have given them a cheque. If she didn't have any the bank would have given her a bank cheque. So glad she got most of it back and agree he should not be allowed to remain. grandmab
  • Score: 6

7:10pm Tue 11 Feb 14

Bank of Europe says...

Why does this reptile 'Only Faces' Deportation ??? Why isn't it compulsory ??
Why does this reptile 'Only Faces' Deportation ??? Why isn't it compulsory ?? Bank of Europe
  • Score: 15

8:09pm Tue 11 Feb 14

Border Terrier says...

Why is it, every other person who passes me on high row is jabbering away in a Eastern European accent. My oldest lad has to go down to London now to find work.Ukip!
Why is it, every other person who passes me on high row is jabbering away in a Eastern European accent. My oldest lad has to go down to London now to find work.Ukip! Border Terrier
  • Score: 9

5:40am Wed 12 Feb 14

BMD says...

Everyone has a sob story and Teeside Crown Court fell for it again!

He will be out of prison in 18 months and because he has a prison record he will be given preferential treatment. This scum needs to serve his full term in a Polish prison and never to be allowed back into the UK.

Vote UKIP and return our borders and security back to the UK.
Everyone has a sob story and Teeside Crown Court fell for it again! He will be out of prison in 18 months and because he has a prison record he will be given preferential treatment. This scum needs to serve his full term in a Polish prison and never to be allowed back into the UK. Vote UKIP and return our borders and security back to the UK. BMD
  • Score: 11

8:27pm Sat 15 Feb 14

GillyGillyOssenfefferKatzenellenBogenByTheSea says...

This is a small island.....the 'full' sign should have been put up a long time ago.
This is a small island.....the 'full' sign should have been put up a long time ago. GillyGillyOssenfefferKatzenellenBogenByTheSea
  • Score: 3

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree