A DRUG addict who snatched the handbags of two elderly women, leaving one with "stomach churning" injuries, has been jailed for four years.
Michael Thomas, 24, left 90-year-old Annie Morgan with a head injury, a broken shoulder and an injured arm after he wrested her handbag from her.
He told police that on a scale from one to ten, the level of force he had used to get the bag from Mrs Morgan was a seven.
Judge Paul Thomas said his "stomach churned" when he saw Mrs Morgan's injuries, which meant she was now living in a nursing home.
It is not yet known if she will be able to return to live in her own house.
Thomas's second victim, Marie Davies, who the court was told was in her early 70s, escaped injury but had been left too terrified to leave the house or answer the door, Swansea Crown Court heard.
Both offences took place in Llanelli town centre on January 11.
Thomas told the court he had been using heroin since he was nine. He said he had stolen the bags to buy drugs.
Prosecutor John Lloyd said Mrs Morgan felt she had lost her independence, was "extremely upset and tearful" and was still in "extensive" pain.
"She used to play organ in church and that was one of her few enjoyments in life, but now she doesn't feel she would be able to continue with that," added Mr Lloyd.
Huw Rees, representing Thomas, said his client accepted they were "despicable" offences, but said he had lost a number of close family members in a "short period".
"This sentence will allow him to come to terms with his grief and hopefully his heroin addiction," added Mr Rees.
He said Thomas had admitted the offences at the first opportunity and had showed police where he had dumped the bags.
Sentencing him, the judge said Thomas had "struggled" with Mrs Morgan to get her bag.
"That must have made you feel like a hero. As someone who says he was very fond of a grandparent, you can imagine how that lady's family feel about what you did," said Judge Thomas.
Thomas, of Clos Sant Paul, Llanelli, admitted theft and robbery.