A COUPLE have been convicted of violently attacking a woman as they robbed her of personal possessions at her Boscombe home.

Hailey Jayne Wheeler and Mark Alwyn Sanders pounced on the victim as she was walking towards the front door of her flat in Sea Road.

The woman was kicked, pushed, hit with a hammer and held down by the throat as the offenders demanded a key for a safe, which they understood had been taken by other people in a burglary the previous day.

She suffered three open fractures to her fingers and cuts to her face.

Bournemouth Crown Court heard the victim, who is aged in her 30s, lost some of the function in her right hand as a result of the attack.

Wheeler, 39, and of Spencer Road, Boscombe, and Sanders, 52 and of Elmes Road, Moordown, did not search the flat but made off with a handbag and its contents, a set of keys and a mobile phone.

Dorset Echo: Hailey Jayne WheelerHailey Jayne Wheeler

A bank card belonging to the victim was used five times by Wheeler in the hours after the incident on September 24 last year to buy alcohol, cigarettes and other items from various shops and convenience stores in Boscombe.

The pair were arrested a few days later and charged.

Both faced allegations of robbery, causing grievous bodily harm with intent and five counts of fraud by false representation, while Wheeler was also accused of possessing an offensive weapon.

The pair were both due to stand trial at Bournemouth Crown Court but on Monday, April 26, Wheeler changed her plea and admitted the offences. Sanders maintained his innocence and the jury trial in his case proceeded.

Defending, Mark Florida-James told the jury in his closing speech that descriptions of his client given by the victim and a witness, who lived in the same block of flats and saw two people leaving after the robbery, did not match with Sanders.

Dorset Echo: Mark Alwyn SandersMark Alwyn Sanders

The victim said he was around six foot tall with blue eyes, when Sanders is five foot seven inches tall and has dark brown eyes.

The witness said the man he saw was definitely taller than the woman they were with, but the court heard Sanders and Wheeler are the same height.

Sanders denied being at the scene of the crime although CCTV showed him with Wheeler both a short time before and after the robbery.

Tim Moores, prosecuting, said the defendant’s account, which would have involved a “mystery man parachuting in” for a 20-minute window, was “nonsense”.The barrister said the victim’s inaccurate description was understandable given she was being attacked and Sanders was wearing a scarf across his face.

He said the witness’s height description could be due to the male offender having the hood of his top up when he was seen.

The jury found Sanders guilty of all charges on Thursday, April 29.

Both defendants were remanded into custody, with a sentencing hearing due to take place on June 3.