A CHESTER Crown Court judge told a thief she should feel "thoroughly ashamed" after stealing jewellery off her 81-year-old victim in Hoole.

Monalisa Alexandru, 38, of no fixed abode, took advantage of her elderly victim's kindness to steal a necklace and bracelet, both of which were of high sentimental value, Chester Crown Court heard on Monday, September 9.

Appearing in the dock with the assistance of an interpreter who speaks Romanian, Alexandru – who had been charged with robbery – pleaded guilty to the lesser offence of theft, a plea accepted by prosecutors.

She was jailed for nine months.

Prosecuting, Mike Stephenson said it was on April 17 when the 81-year-old female victim was in Hoole doing some gardening when three people in a car – including the defendant – stopped nearby and asked her for directions to a hospital.

She went over but soon found none of them appeared to speak English.

As she rested her hands on the edge of the car window, not sure what to do next, a woman in the car put her hands on the victim's.

Alexandru then came out of the car and, in a show of supposed affection, wrapped some costumed jewellery around the 81-year-old's neck.

But it was a ruse, as the victim heard a snapping sound and realised her necklace and bracelet had been taken.

In a victim impact statement, the victim said she had trouble sleeping since, having nightmares involving the three people in the car.

She was dubious about taking her dog for a walk and was nervous, and blamed herself for being too trusting in others.

Defending, Dhaneshwar Ram Sharma said: "This was a nasty and despicable act, taking advantage of the victim's charity."

Alexandru was in dire straits, with no money coming in, having moved to this country on the promise of getting a job which was then not forthcoming, leaving her in desperate circumstances.

Mr Ram Sharma added he had even had to give Alexandru £20 as she had literally no money left.

Judge Patrick Thompson, sentencing, said: "You ripped from her her necklace and bracelet. You were only concerned about making money for yourself.

"It left her feeling anxious, no doubt struggling to trust people.

"When an elderly lady is the victim in broad daylight, it's a shocking reflection on society.

"You should feel thoroughly ashamed for taking away that lady's confidence and trust in people."