A woman has been jailed after attacking and robbing a vulnerable man in the street - the same day she was released from prison.

Kelly Lavelle, of Victoria Road in Rhyl, appeared at Mold Crown Court on Thursday via video link from HMP Styal.

The 36-year-old had admitted one offence of robbery at a previous hearing.

Catherine Elvin, prosecuting, told the court that on December 17, 2021, victim Paul Williams had been to Betfred betting shop in Wrexham City Centre, before going to use a cash machine in Hope Street.

As he walked away from the ATM, he saw Lavelle with three or four males, and asked the group if one of them could give him a light for his cigarette.

Lavelle, who listened to much of the hearing with her head in her hands, tried to grab the victim's wallet - resulting in a 'tug-of-war' between them over the item.

The defendant verbally abused Mr Williams and bit his hand, causing him to drop the wallet.

Rhyl Journal: Kelly Lavelle (North Wales Police)Kelly Lavelle (North Wales Police) (Image: NWP)

He tried to retrieve it, but was struck by Lavelle, who took some of his cash.

The defendant was tracked down by police to a nearby pub, where she was arrested and officers found £90 concealed in her bra.

She accepted she'd been drinking and admitted she was the person seen committing the offence in CCTV footage, but said she couldn't remember it.

She'd been released from prison on licence that same day - and the release had been granted early, the court heard, so she could attend her brother's funeral on the day the offence took place.

Such was her level of intoxication that she had to be taken to hospital for treatment.

Ms Elvin explained the victim was "frightened to death" about the implications of the bite - which had broken his skin and caused his hand to bleed.

He called his aunt in tears, telling her he was frightened he'd contracted HIV or hepatitis.

The court heard Mr Williams was a vulnerable man who had a number of pre-existing medical and psychiatric issues, and following the robbery he was "on the verge of having a nervous breakdown."

Mr Williams died approximately six months after the offence, with his cause of death being given as self-neglect and diabetic ketoacidosis.

The defendant had 37 previous convictions for 56 offences; 20 of which were for theft and like offences, and five were for offences against the person.

Ms Elvin told the court that whilst it could not be said the robbery had been the only factor leading to Mr Williams' death, it would have had an impact.

Simon Rogers, defending, asked the Judge to take an overall view of what happened on the day, adding: "What we have here is a bite which, in reality, causes minimal injury.

"And I don't downplay the effect - of course there would have been worry to the victim as to the potential consequences. It is common sense that there was an impact.

"But this is not a straight forward case when it comes to considering the victim's background.

Rhyl Journal: Hope Street, WrexhamHope Street, Wrexham (Image: Staff)

"[Lavelle's] best mitigation is obvious; her guilty plea, which entitles her to full credit."

Mr Rogers emphasised that the defendant admitted her guilt as early as the police interview, and told the court there had been a significant delay in bringing the matter before the court.

On the events of the day, he added: "She herself was in a distressed state, having attended her brother's funeral, and was under the influence of intoxicants.

"On one view, this defendant is also vulnerable. She wishes to apologise to everyone.

"It was me who informed her the victim had passed away - she broke down in tears.

"She feels enormous guilt and shame and to be blunt, she blames herself for his death."

Recorder Simon Mills told Lavelle: "Your victim was clearly a vulnerable man who had some money on him.

"You would have been drinking a lot and may have also taken drugs - I understand you'd been to a funeral.

"But none of it excuses what you did.

"This poor man died six months later and nobody is suggesting your actions caused his death. But this was a vulnerable man who didn't deserve to be treated in this way.

"You blame yourself. But you weren't to know what was going to happen to him.

"What you should blame yourself for is that your actions spoiled the last months of his life to a significant degree.

"When you're serving the sentence I pass, I want you to reflect on that."

Lavelle was jailed for three years and eight months.