A THIEF who preyed on an elderly woman has been jailed after claiming to have coronavirus and then coughing in a police officer’s face.

Thomas Butler, 27, was arrested last Saturday after a distraction burglary on January 7.

Two men had talked their way into a 77-year-old woman’s home, on Kenliworth Way in Banbury, on the pretence of selling her some animals.

But when inside the house one man kept the woman busy whilst the other stole her things.

Her bank card was later used fraudulently.

READ MORE: Last week another man was sent to prison for deliberately coughing in a police officers face 

Butler, of Farnborough Road, Mollington, was charged with one count of theft from a dwelling and then one count of assaulting an emergency worker after he coughed in a police officers face and claimed to have coronavirus.

Henry Butler, also 27, of no fixed abode, was previously sentenced on January 29 at Oxford Magistrates Court for fraud by false representation and was given a 24-week suspended sentence for two years.

But yesterday at the Oxford Court, Thomas Butler was jailed for 18 weeks after pleading guilty to both charges.

One police officer said that Butler ‘took advantage’ of the elderly lady’s vulnerability.

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PC Reece Millar, based at Banbury Police Station, was investigating the assault, he said: “Butler carried out this assault on Saturday and by Friday he has started serving his prison sentence.

“I am very pleased to get such swift justice at this time and I am very glad he has been given a custodial sentence.

“The sentence does show the severity of what Butler did.”

The officer investigating the theft, PC Sean Allwood, also based in Banbury, added: “After this amount of time, it is always nice to bring offenders to justice.

“The victim in this case was elderly and vulnerable. Butler took advantage of that.

“I hope she now gets some closure, which she deserves.”