A WOMAN who stole £2,000 of a pensioner’s Christmas savings and burgled a vulnerable man’s home twice in three weeks has been jailed for two years.

Nicola Johnston left the pensioner devastated when she snuck into his bedroom and stole the money from a tin while pretending to use his toilet.

And the partner of the man whose home she burgled has been left wanting to move address.

Teesside Crown Court how Johnston had suffered horrendous abuse over a number of years before becoming addicted to heroin.

Her barrister Nicci Horton urged the judge to suspend Johnston’s sentence after telling the court of the catalogue of abuse and trauma she had suffered throughout her life.

Emma Atkinson, prosecuting, said the theft of the pensioner’s £2,000 in December last year had a ‘sickening’ impact on him because he knew her and thought he could trust her.

She said: “The victim said it was a sickening crime in the run up to Christmas. He had been saving for several months to buy presents for his 17 grandchildren.

“He felt the defendant has taken advantage of his kindness and he felt betrayed.”

Miss Atkinson said Johnston broke into her victim’s house twice last September when one the first occasion she stole a PlayStation 3 and a television which she sold at Time Bargains in Stockton.

She said the defendant must have stolen a key as she return to the property to steal more goods but was caught be Cleveland Police after she was spotted acting suspiciously in the rear alley of Woodland Street, Stockton.

Speaking of the impact it had on him, Miss Atkinson said: “He said he was reluctant to move because he didn’t want to be driven out of his own home but his girlfriend wanted to move because of the burglaries.”

Johnston, of Madison Square, Stockton, pleaded guilty to two burglaries and theft.

In mitigation, Miss Horton said her client has been stabbed, beaten and slashed by a former partner.

She added: "The theft was opportunistic, if you can put it that way, she didn't deliberately target because he was a vulnerable person."

Judge Stephen Ashurst said the burglaries had left the couple 'unsettled and frightened in their own home'.

He told Johnston that he would have sentenced her to three years in prison if it wasn't for the strength of her personal mitigation.