A three-strike burglar who targeted an elderly man’s home on Christmas Eve has been jailed.
John Kay broke into the property in Derwent Cottages, in Consett, in the early hours of December 24, 2021.
The elderly homeowner was awoken by banging downstairs in the property and immediately rang the police.
The victim, who was understandably shaken, stayed on the phone to the call handler while officers were dispatched on an immediate response.
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Within minutes, however, the intruder had grabbed a set of car keys from the householder’s dining table, jumped into the man’s car, and drove off in the vehicle.
An investigation was launched and Kay was identified thanks to information received from the public.
The 44-year-old defendant, from Fernwood Road, Lemington, in Newcastle, was arrested on suspicion of burglary and for the theft of a motor vehicle, before being charged and remanded into custody.
He appeared at Durham Crown Court late last year and admitted the charges, although he disputed the date when they were committed, claiming it was six days earlier than on the charge sheet.
Judge James Adkin adjourned the case for a trial of issue in the case, staged at the court last Friday (January 20) after which he sentenced the defendant to a total 32-month prison sentence.
Read more: Burglar disputes Christmas Eve date of break-in near Consett
Prosecuting counsel Uzma Khan said: “The Crown would say a person was at home at the time, and we say it was a targeted, planned offence, and the date it was committed would not have made a great deal of material difference.”
Defense counsel Brian Mark said if the crime was committed on the night of December 18, 2021, the house was unoccupied at the time.
But, the court found that the victim was at home at the time of the offence.
Speaking after the sentence was passed, Detective Inspector Daniel Peacock, from Consett CID, described the incident as, “a terrifying ordeal” for the elderly victim.
“He was understandably shaken and upset by the incident.
“I am pleased the team managed to track down the offender and get the justice the victim deserved.
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“I would like to encourage the public to report incidents like this, we have a dedicated team who are here to listen and take action.”
Anyone who would like to report a non-urgent crime is asked to report it to police online, via the Durham force’s our Live chat forum, on: https://www.durham.police.uk/…/101.. ./101-Live-Chat.aspx, or by dialing 101.
But, in emergency cases, members of the public were always urged to dial 999.