Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Southampton robber chased by victim, 77, jailed

Lorraine Barter
Image caption Lorraine Barter, 77, tried to fight off the robber before chasing after him down the street

A man who was pursued by a 77-year-old woman after robbing her has been jailed for three years and nine months.

Lorraine Barter struggled with Mark Dythe, 52, in her home in Southampton before giving chase as he fled with her handbag, a court heard.

She said she was "fortunate not to have been killed" in the attack.

Southampton Crown Court heard Dythe was "wracked with guilt" and phoned police within hours of the mugging on 22 November to confess.

'Honourable man'

The father-of-four admitted to police he was high on crack cocaine when he spotted Mrs Barter in the street and targeted her for money to buy drugs.

He escaped with £40 and Mrs Barter's mobile phone.

In a victim impact statement, Mrs Barter said she was "fortunate not to have been killed" after being "violently pulled" during the struggle in the hallway, falling to the floor and hitting her head on a cabinet.

Image copyright Hampshire Constabulary
Image caption Father-of-four Mark Dythe admitted to police he was high on crack cocaine

She said she had been treated in hospital for bruises on her face and back.

Mrs Barter, a well-known neighbourhood campaigner in the Polygon area of Southampton, said she no longer enjoyed being at home or going out because of the attack.

She said: "He has proven himself to be an honourable man by confessing... but I don't feel safer that he's behind bars because this goes on all around the country."

The court was told Dythe, of Kenilworth Road, was his partner's carer and felt "devastated" both for her and Mrs Barter.

Judge Rowland said Dythe had a "bad record" of previous convictions including three robberies and multiple burglaries, although none were recent.

He said the assault would remain with Mrs Barter for many years and it was lucky that she had not sustained more serious injuries.

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