Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Crook Was Caught by the Luck of the Draw; Sketch Snares Robber

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Crook Was Caught by the Luck of the Draw; Sketch Snares Robber

Article excerpt

Byline: LINDA RICHARDS

QUICK on the draw Jill Smith outgunned lowlife Lloyd Talbot when the bag snatcher struck.

As the drug addict cycled away after stealing her bag, the 71-year-old retired fine art teacher committed his face to memory.

And moments later she was producing an incredibly accurate sketch of the serial offender.

Police were so impressed with the detail, they circulated the drawing to officers, and one recognised 31-yearold Talbot from the life-like sketch.

He was picked up and at Gateshead Magistrates Court he was given an 18week prison sentence suspended for a year and a six-month rehabilitation requirement to help him tackle his drug problem, which earlier this year landed him in prison for the first time.

The charity rat was caught on CCTV swiping war vets' collecting tins in Newcastle.

Money donated for the British Legion Poppy Appeal went on feeding his habit.

He escaped going to prison again and must pay Mrs Smith pounds 60 compensation for the cash she lost when he took her bag.

After the case, Mrs Smith, from Derwentside, said: "I got a really good look at him as he looked back at me as he rode off.

"The police arrived soon after and the officer asked if I could describe him. I told her if I had paper and pen, I could draw him and she promptly gave me her notebook.

"I have done a lot of portraits of people and it was easier to draw him than give a verbal description."

Mrs Smith, who has a daughter and three grandchildren, worked in a prison for 18 years teaching inmates to draw and used to pen portraits of visitors to the former MetroLand theme park at the MetroCentre.

She is used to assessing people's appearance in seconds and that is what happened when she saw Talbot's profile as he turned back to look at her.

His forehead and nose which are on the same angle, his high cheekbones and receding hairline were etched in her mind. …

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