A ROBBER who attacked a woman because he was desperate to obtain heroin was jailed for three years yesterday.

Pauline Fogg bravely fought off the addict who tried to snatch her handbag when she was attacked in Darlington, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Mrs Fogg, 55, screamed and lashed out at her attacker.

She then continued her journey to the local post office, David Scutt, prosecuting, told the court.

"Mrs Fogg damaged her right arm. She had a sling and was diagnosed with ligament damage and muscle strain to her right arm and hand," he said.

"She was off work for four weeks, and six months later she still struggles with household chores.

"She had her confidence damaged, did not go out for two days, and she is still nervous if anyone approaches her in the street. The incident left her very distressed and lacking confidence."

Her attacker, Daniel Pindar, 22, was arrested shortly after the robbery attempt, following a tip-off from a taxi driver, the court was told.

Pindar, of Headlam Road, Darlington, was jailed for three years after he pleaded guilty to attempting to rob Mrs Fogg on September 17 last year.

The court heard he was pulled off Mrs Fogg by a passer-by. As he fled following the incident, which took place in Victoria Road, Pindar threw his sweatshirt and a baseball cap into a garden in Waverley Terrace.

A shopkeeper who heard Mrs Fogg's calls for help rang the police.

Pindar later denied the clothes were his, but forensic scientists found fibres on the shirt from Mrs Fogg's cardigan.

The court heard that he had been on bail pending hearings for charges of burglary and attempted burglary. Last week, he was jailed for two years at Teesside Crown Court after he admitted the crimes.

Deborah Sherwin, speaking for Pindar, said that his problems began when he was 14, when his mother died from cancer, and he descended into a world of drink and drugs. But he had quit heroin by his own efforts.

Passing sentence, Judge Peter Armstrong said: "The seriousness of this case is the effect that this sort of offence has on victims who are chosen at random simply because you have this problem and have chosen this way to buy drugs.

"There can only be one sentence because this offence is so serious that only custody can be justified for it."