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Burglar who targeted elderly women sentenced to ten years

William Beggs, 45 (11-03-70), of Islington, followed vulnerable victims home from shops and offered to help them with their shopping or to open the door for them. Sometimes he asked to borrow a pen and paper to leave a note for a neighbour. While their backs were turned, he would then steal their handbags in what is known as a “distraction burglary”, hoping to find cash. All the women were over 60, and some were in their 90s and considerably frail.

In total, he burgled 19 women between July and December 2014, when he was arrested by City Police officers. After interviewing him regarding five offences, he was handed to the Metropolitan Police Service, who had 14 offences to question him about.

In a joint operation, City and Islington Police were able to pinpoint CCTV evidence of Beggs targeting his victims, and mobile phone records proving he was in the immediate vicinity of a number of the burglaries.

He denied all the offences, but in fact had been convicted in the past of a number of similar offences, and had only been released from prison in March 2014 after serving part of a six year sentence.

He declined to give evidence on his behalf at his trial at Blackfriars Crown Court.

Detective Constable Marcus Johnson from Islington Police who led the investigation said:

“These offences were committed over a long period of time and caused an enormous amount of stress, discomfort and inconvenience to those targeted who should have felt safe and secure in their own homes. Beggs has shown no remorse whatsoever and could have pleaded guilty at an early stage. He is clearly a danger, continuing to develop his signature of asking for a pen and paper to leave a note: however, I believe it was this trait that finally led to his being captured. I am entirely satisfied that the sentence handed down goes to show that Police will leave no stone unturned in pursuing those who commit this type of burglary.”

Detective Sergeant Richard Peacock from the City of London Police said:

 “I am incredibly pleased with the guilty verdict and sentence. Pure greed motivated William Beggs to prey on vulnerable elderly women in the City and neighbouring boroughs. Any dwelling burglary leaves a lasting horrible memory, but to target the confidence of the vulnerable is totally despicable. Some of the victims were over 90 years old and partially sighted. Beggs’ actions made them feel frightened and unsafe in their own homes. He absolutely deserves this ten year sentence.”

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