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William Leech repeatedly preyed on elderly
A YORK man who repeatedly preyed on pensioners has been detained indefinitely after he used an 88-year-old woman’s bank account as his own.
William Robert Leech, 33, was wearing clothes bought with the woman’s money and had a mobile phone and other items paid for by her bank card when police arrested him, York Crown Court heard.
Leech was on parole from a three-year-old sentence for burgling a couple in their sixties and other crimes.
He has also served a four-year sentence for kicking in the door of a 76-year-old woman, pushing her on to her bed and rifling through her possessions before escaping with jewellery.
Leech, of Barfield Road, pleaded guilty to three charges of theft and seven of fraud.
Recorder Christopher Attwooll detained him indefinitely under the Mental Health Act to a low-security psychiatric unit after reading reports from two psychiatrists who had assessed him as being mentally ill.
The court heard Leech’s 88-year-old victim, who lives in north York, was burgled sometime after July 20, but didn’t realise it for several days until she was unable to find her purse with her bank card.
She and her daughter checked with her bank and found that after that date, someone had used the card to withdraw £250 three times and to buy clothing, a phone and place bets, mostly on July 24. The total taken was under £1,000.
The pensioner remembered seeing Leech in her back garden and wondering what he was doing there. She gave his description to police, who arrested him.
When told the victim’s name in a police interview, Leech was “very upset and said he regretted his actions”, said the prosecutor.
Leech claimed to have bought the card and its PIN number for £20 from a man in a pub.
In 2008, York Crown Court heard how Leech had thrown a 76-year-old woman down on her bed and terrified her so much she feared he would sexually attack her.
He was on parole from the four-year sentence imposed for that burglary when he raided the home of the couple in their sixties and two other houses.
For Leech, Derek Duffy said he had been recalled to prison to serve the remainder of the three-year sentence and prison staff had transferred him to a psychiatric unit because of concerns about his mental state.