A ROBBER who preyed on elderly, vulnerable women, stealing their belongings to fund his drug addiction has been jailed.

One of Terance Bilverstone's victims - an 84-year-old woman - fought back and it was because of her bravery that a bike was left behind which yielded her attacker's DNA.

The 43-year-old of no fixed abode appeared via videolink at Oxford Crown Court yesterday to admit one count of robbery and another of theft.

Outlining the case at the hearing prosecutor Nigel Ogborne said that the first incident of theft took place in The Croft alleyway, Headington, at about 2.20pm on October 24.

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The victim - a 76-year-old woman was walking through the alleyway using a walking frame when Bilverstone came up behind her.

Mr Ogborne said the woman then felt a push to her arm and saw Bilverstone on a bicycle behind her.

She thought he wanted to get past and she told him 'you should have rung the bell.'

Instead Bilverstone snatched the woman's handbag before cycling away from the scene.

Inside that bag were a number of cards as well as a mobile phone; items which were never recovered.

The second attack, this time a robbery, took place just days later on October 27.

The victim - an 84-year-old woman, was walking along Banbury Road shortly after midday when Bilverstone approached her.

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As he tried to snatch her handbag the woman clung on to it and a struggle ensued.

Bilverstone proceeded to 'pull her to the floor causing her injury to her knee' prosecutors said.

Before the robber could get away on his bicycle, however, the woman lunged at the getaway vehicle, grabbing hold of it.

Bilverstone ended up fleeing on foot having taken a purse from the woman.

When the police were called they were able to trace the culprit from his DNA left on the handlebars of the bicycle, and he was arrested at an address in Marston.

The court heard that Bilverstone also has numerous previous convictions - totalling 86 crimes - including many for theft.

In mitigation at yesterday's hearing his defence barrister Eirian Riley said that his client was sorry for his actions.

He said: "He is very sorry for this, he has acted despicably, he understands this.

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"He has expressed a desire to write to those victims and explain exactly what was happening [in his life].

"The issue was heroin, he was back using the drug and using significant amounts per day.

"He has committed these terrible offences in order to fund that habit, he wishes to apologise to both of the victims of this offence."

Sentencing, Judge Nigel Daly said that Bilverstone 'had deliberately targeted' elderly and vulnerable people in the attacks.

He was jailed for 52 months.