A couple who targeted elderly people in a string of burglaries across London have been sentenced to a total of 15 years in prison.
Edward James Rodmell, 39, unemployed, of Southwark and Italian national Marilane Guardascione, 24, of no fixed abode were sentenced at Southwark Crown Court on August 21 after pleading guilty.
Rodmell was sentenced to ten years imprisonment whilst Guardascione was sentenced to five years imprisonment.
The duo committed a total of 26 offences between 27 November 2013 and 19 February 2014; three in Lewisham, four in Islington, one in Haringey and 18 offences in Southwark. Their eldest victim was a 100-year-old woman from Southwark.
They stole a total of £2,076 in cash and over £5,000 in handbags and jewellery.
The couple were arrested in Southwark on Friday 19 February 2014. They had both gained entry to the property of a 73-year-old woman, after telling her that there was a leak in the building, but were confronted by a neighbour who told them to leave. They were charged with conspiracy to commit a burglary dwelling with intent to steal.
Guardascione kept the victims occupied by chatting away whilst Rodmell scoured the properties in search for money, jewellery, bank cards and valuables.
Guardascione and Rodmell targeted an 83-year-old in Peckham Rye, telling her that her water was contaminated because of building work in the area. Whilst Rodmell searched for money and bank cards, Guardascione kept the victim distracted. They stole £300.
They also stole £350 from a 90-year-old woman in South Bermondsey; four watches from an 87-year-old woman in Kennington; wedding rings and an engagement ring from an 89-year-old man in Honor Oak Park and highly valuable Indian jewellery from an 86-year-old woman in Crouch Hill.
Their oldest victim was a 100-year-old woman from Southwark; after pretending they were from the water board, they stole her bag and money for a total of £190.
However, the duo were not always successful. Many victims were quick to either call the police or shut the door. One 86-year-old woman in Honor Oak Park questioned their identity, after they claimed to be police officers. They left empty-handed. An 85-year-old woman from Kennington and a 73-year-old woman from Borough also challenged the duo when they claimed to be from the water board, shutting the door immediately and calling police.
Detective Sergeant Lucy Carberry, the officer in the case from Southwark Borough’s CID, said: “This was a complex investigation which has concluded successfully. The suspects deliberately targeted elderly residents and I hope today’s sentences will bring our victims and their families some peace of mind.”