When 50-year-old Sharron Lewis from Bournemouth in the UK called the police to her son, Sheldon Woodford, the last thing she expected was for him to commit suicide once in jail.
Because of his addiction to drugs, Woodford needed some cash so he stalked 90-year-old pensioner Betty Aldworth, attacked her and knocked her to the ground leaving her with knee and shoulder injuries.
While high on the synthetic marijuana-like drug known as Clockwork Orange, the suspect snatched the pensioner’s handbag and ran.
His mother said that, while she feels she did the right thing by telling the police that her son was the culprit of the mugging, she naturally blames herself for the death of her son who was found hanging in his cell at HMP Winchester in Hampshire last week.
As she told reporters, regarding how she felt when hearing about the death of her son,
“I feel responsible and I feel that I failed him. I know I did the right thing for my son and for the old lady. I did it because he could have seriously hurt someone next time. I did it for his own good. I did it because he needed help and the only way he was going to get it was being in prison. He was in the right place to get help and he obviously didn’t get it.”
Lewis added that her son had tried to hang himself four weeks prior to his death and was on suicide watch while in prison.
When Lewis came forward, Detective Constable Leo Glendon said,
“She felt that any loyalty towards her son was superseded by the fact that he had picked on a vulnerable, elderly lady. She felt it was right to come forward and inform us due to the nature of the crime and the fact Woodford was targeting elderly people and could still be a danger to them.”
At the same time, Judge Peter Johnson described Woodford’s crime as “a cowardly, despicable act,” adding, “That injury is still causing her pain. The sentence of this court must be a severe one.”
Sheldon Woodford died in hospital at 2.10pm on March 12.