A MOTHER who snatched an elderly woman’s handbag while in a shopping centre has said she is deeply ashamed and disgusted with her actions.

Margaret Hannan asked her victim, a woman she had never met before, to lend her some money while they were both waiting for a lift inside The Mall Blackburn. However when the 69-year-old victim declined to give her any cash, Hannan snatched her handbag from off her shoulder before shoving her out of the lift and brandishing her walking stick at her.

Hannan, 54, has never appeared before a court before with her defence barrister Neil Howarth claiming his defendant had made a foolish mistake after falling on hard times as a result of her gambling addiction.

He said: “This is a case where there is genuine remorse on behalf of the defendant. She knows full well that on that date she betrayed the victim’s trust committing this appalling offence. She is shocked an appalled at her actions. She’s lost a large amount of self respect and she has lost her reputation.

“This is a defendant who has a huge amount to lose, she has huge responsibilities - her daughter is 24 -years-old and has several learning difficulties. This defendant is her carer. She appreciates there is a risk of immediate custody and the tremendous impact that would have on the life of her daughter is not lost on her.”

The court heard that before her encounter with the victim, Hannan had gambled away her money for that month, leaving her with nothing to buy basic provisions with.

Sentencing Hannan for two years suspended for two years, Judge Richard Gioserano: “It is a shame your daughter was not at the forefront of your mind and her dependence upon you and her need for you when you decided to take this victim’s handbag.”

Hannan, of Rothesay Road, Blackburn, must complete a rehabilitation requirement and wear a tag for four months.