A man who pickpocketed a woman as she lay on the ground having a seizure has been jailed.
Noel Steadman, 46, of no fixed address, was sentenced yesterday at Manchester Crown Court to 22 months in prison after pleading guilty to theft.
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He was also given a four-month prison sentence for vehicle interference. The two sentences will run concurrently.
A 39-year-old woman was walking out of an office building on Nicholas Street, in Manchester city centre, on March 21 when she fell to the ground and began suffering a seizure.
Steadman and another man – who remains unidentified - rushed over to her and he began rooting through the woman’s pockets, stealing an iPhone 6 Plus.
After being disturbed by a passer-by and spotting an ambulance arriving, Steadman and his accomplice fled the area.
An investigation was launched by Greater Manchester Police's Operation Valiant team – a specialist unit dedicated to tackling personal robberies in the city centre – and further inquiries identified Steadman as the person seen on CCTV stealing the victim’s phone.
Ch Insp Cherie Buttle said: “Noel Steadman’s actions were nothing short of despicable and I am pleased to be able to say that, as a result of the work carried out by our city centre team including officers from Operation Valiant, he has now been jailed.
“This has been a painstaking investigation for the team and they kept the victim at the heart of everything they did in their pursuit of justice.
“I know the fact that Steadman will be unable to offend in Manchester city centre for the foreseeable future has brought her great comfort and reassurance. I would like to thank her and pay tribute for the incredible courage she showed in coming forward to support the investigation.
“I hope this case serves as a clear example of the dedication that our Operation Valiant team is prepared to show to bring prosecutions against those who seek to commit one of the most personal of crimes.”