A husband and wife were caught trying to flee the UK after an 87-year-old man was pushed to the ground minutes after they had seen him withdraw £7,000 in cash from a bank to give to his granddaughter, a court was told.

The couple stole the money from the elderly man in High Wycombe and were soon after spotted driving to Dover to flee to their home country of Romania.

Pensioner victim Keith Allsop told a judge of the toll the robbery had taken on him, adding that it had affected his memory, given him depression and left him too frightened to travel into the nearby town from his home.

Mr Allsop had withdrawn the large sum of money in £50 notes from his account at the Santander Bank in the High Street, intending to generously give it to his granddaughter to help pay for an extension to her home.

Ionut Bocioroaga and his wife Cornelia had gone into the Santander bank behind Mr Allsop, who had made a special trip on May 31 last year to withdraw the cash, prosecutors said.

CCTV footage then showed Ionut Bocioroaga, 38, following the victim around High Wycombe after the withdrawal of the cash, which the victim placed into an envelope and stored in his shopping bag.

Prosecuting, Geoffrey Porter described the robbery, saying: "He [Mr Allsop] felt someone forcefully grab the bag that he had been carrying. The victim fell to the floor and blacked out.

"A witness who was driving past described Mr Bocioroaga as approaching the victim and barging into him. Mr Bocioroaga made off with the bag."

The pensioner was taken to the Stoke Mandeville Hospital, having suffered bruising and swelling to the right side of his face. CT scans showed he had a fractured eye socket and the court heard how his right eye required stitching and glueing.

Bocioroaga, who was already wanted on a European arrest warrant for driving without insurance, and his wife were found in a BMW in Dover, Kent, apparently intending to return to their home country of Romania, the court heard.

In a victim impact statement, Mr Allsop said: "Since the incident took place I have been feeling depressed. I have experienced problems trying to get over the shock of it.

"I cannot remember what happened on May 31. I think it has affected my memory, as I did not have problems with my memory before and it has been much worse since then.

"I have not been back into town since the incident. It took me a week just to walk down the road to buy my newspaper and even then I have started using a stick."

Police arrested Ionut Bocioroaga. Cornelia Bocioroaga was found on June 3 at Dover again in a car, with her mother-in-law, in possession of a wallet containing £1,750 and 68 items of clothing, which still had price labels and security tags on them.

Ionut Bocioroaga admitted robbery and handling stolen goods, which he admitted in police interview, while Cornelia admitted two counts of possessing criminal property and two counts of transferring criminal property.

Ionut Bocioroaga, who was from High Wycombe until put in HMP Wandsworth on remand after he was charged, had one previous conviction for shoplifting.

His defence counsel, Graham Lloyd, said: "He could see Mr Allsop had suffered those awful injuries. He himself was a heroin addict with a debt of £4,000. He said he had been threatened by drug dealers who had taken his Romanian identity card.

"He was planning to pay it back through his employment as a chef. However, he saw that opportunity to steal and he took that. He accepts it is absolutely appalling. He says it is out of character, he is simply not the sort of person who would usually do that."

Cornelia Bocioroaga, 38 and of Desborough Road, High Wycombe, was of good character and had not played any part in the robbery and was no longer in a relationship with her husband, her defending lawyer said.

Matei Clej, defending her, said: "She has spent various times working in Japan and Italy, prior to coming to the UK. She met the co-defendant and her now ex-partner in 2012 and they spent time in Denmark before moving to the United Kingdom in the summer of 2018 together.

"She and her husband were both working for just under the minimum wage at the time and there would have been very little source of justification in her mind for him coming into all that cash, or indeed for having possession of the clothes. In essence she closed her eyes to the obvious."

Judge Thomas Rochford, presiding over a digital sentencing hearing at Aylesbury Crown Court, told Cornelia Bocioroaga she would be made subject to a Community Order for 12 months, requiring her to complete 15 Rehabilitation Activity Requirement days.

The judge added: "You wish to return to Romania and I hope that there, with the support of your family, you will find life becomes rather more positive for you than you have found it here."

Turning to Ionut Bocioroaga, the judge said the offence of robbery was so serious that only an immediate sentence of imprisonment would be appropriate.

Judge Rochford told the defendant: "The robbery involved a victim of 87 years. He appears to have been quite a sprightly gentleman for his age, quite an active man.

"You saw him in the bank on May 31 last year and you plainly saw him withdrawing a large sum of money. You had not planned this in advance, but you did see an opportunity. In seeing that, you were aware that you are a young man and he was an elderly gentleman.

"You followed him from the bank and approached him in the street and used violence towards him. If he was a man of your age, it would not have been a very high level of violence but given the difference in your ages and physicality, it was very violent.

"He was knocked to the floor and he blacked out, albeit perhaps for a short period. You could probably just have taken the bag off him and left him standing if you had chosen. Instead you caused him this very serious injury.

"What you did had a substantial effect upon him and I have no doubt, given his age, that will have continued and perhaps continues to this day."

Judge Rochford sentenced Ionut Bocioroaga to 59 months imprisonment and ordered him to pay back £1,750 to Mr Allsop.