A court heard King followed the victim around for 10 minutes waiting for a moment to steal from her.
Despite him twice dipping his hand into her bag to take her wallet and purse, she didn’t notice and only realised what had happened when she got to the checkout and couldn’t pay.
King, who dropped her empty purse back into her bag, used her cards to go a spree in local shops.
The victim died of natural causes two months later, but the shock of the crime is said to have stayed with her in her final weeks.
Police investigator Rose Horan said the crime had a devastating impact on the victim.
She told the court: “The victim went from being a lively, independent and sociable woman to being frightened, scared to go out and in fact she never went out again, she sadly died within two months.
“People of that age, who have lived their lives, the last thing they expect is somebody to do this to them.
“It does leave these people shocked and distressed.”
King was caught four months after his crime when he returned to the supermarket and staff recognised him.
He failed to attend court for his trial and was found guilty of theft in his absence because the video evidence was so compelling.
King then appealed against the conviction causing the victim’s daughter further stress.
His appeal was dismissed on July 5 2019 at Brighton Crown Court but again did not attend court, claiming he had been injured at work the previous day.
The judge issued a warrant for his arrest and officers arrested him on July 9. He appeared at court again that day and was jailed for a year.
Speaking after his jailing, police investigator Paul Dixon said: “This was a very distressing case in which an elderly lady was ruthlessly taken advantage of by a despicable thief who gave no thought to the impact on his victim.
“We and her family are very glad that justice has now been done in her memory.”
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