Europe

Poland 'predatory pensioner' accused of drugging victims

Drugs packet
Image caption The woman is alleged to have used drugs to tranquilise her victims

A pensioner in Poland has appeared in court accused of drugging and robbing male pensioners she met through newspaper lonely hearts adverts.

The court heard the woman, 80, slipped a sleep-inducing drug into one 78-year-old man's food and stole cash and valuables after he fell asleep.

The woman has nine previous convictions for theft and fraud.

Identified only as Janina M, she has been nicknamed the predatory pensioner and could face up to 20 years in jail.

She has denied the charges at a regional court in Brzesko, southern Poland.

The BBC's Adam Easton in Warsaw says that the pensioner was described by a prosecutor as a nice old lady at first glance - slim, with carefully applied make-up and a pretty hair cut.

She allegedly found her victims in the lonely hearts columns of local newspapers.

After winning one 78-year-old man's confidence, she was invited to his home in the village of Szczurow, near Brzesko.

The court heard that she slipped lorazepam, a drug prescribed for anxiety that can induce sleep, into his food.

The drug is also used to treat convulsions or seizures caused by epilepsy.

When the man was soundly asleep, she is alleged to have stolen cash, rings and a mobile telephone together worth the equivalent of $2,000 (£1,600).

A district prosecutor told Polish media he would never have imagined the lady, who he said did not look 80, being capable of committing such a crime.

Janina M is also suspected of drugging another elderly man in central Poland and stealing his valuables.

Evidence collected by police suggests the woman used the same technique to rob a string of lovelorn seniors.

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