A burglar who entered an 85-year-old woman's bedroom while she was asleep, brandishing a knife, has been sentenced to prison.
Andrew Knighton not only left the elderly victim traumatised and fearful in her own home but also robbed her of her only means of connecting with her daughter in Australia by stealing her tablet used for video calls.
The elderly widow realised the intrusion when she awoke on the morning of 22nd March and found a large bread knife, which belonged to her at the top of the stairs. Upon further inspection, she noticed her spare room had been rifled through, prompting her to retreat to her bedroom and call the police. Fearful that the intruder might still be inside, she remained in her room until the Police arrived.
Among the stolen items were two televisions, the tablet used for video calls with her daughters food items like canned salmon, a locket, and bank cards.
CCTV footage recorded Knighton entering the property at approximately 1.30 am and exiting at around 3.30 am, indicating that he was inside the house for about two hours while the victim slept.
In a victim impact statement, the elderly woman stated: "I have been left feeling scared in my own home, to the point that I have been staying with my son immediately after the burglary. The thought that someone had been into my room while I slept made me feel very unsafe and unnerved. They have taken the only two televisions in my house, which I used every day as I live alone. They have also taken my Samsung Galaxy tablet device. I used this to speak with my daughter via video call as she currently lives in Australia. This was my only means of actually seeing my daughter, and this has been taken away. This crime has not only affected me emotionally but financially as well due to the loss of property and the damage to my window that they have caused when entering my property."
Knighton committed several other burglaries and shop thefts in Ilkeston throughout March and April. He stole garden tools from a shed in Lord Haddon Road on 19th March, took cash and a mobile phone from a property in Critchley Street on 7th April, and stole a TV and Manchester United memorabilia, including shin pads signed by Bobby Charlton, from a property in Station Road on 14th April.
The 43-year-old, residing on Critchley Street, Ilkeston, also targeted Tesco in the town four times in April, stealing alcohol and meat joints. He even revisited the same shop twice on the same day.
Knighton pleaded guilty to burglary and theft and was sentenced to three years in prison at Derby Crown Court on Wednesday, 23rd August.
PC Natalie Morton, from our Neighbourhood Acquisitive Crime Team, commented, "Having your home burgled is such a massive invasion of privacy, so Knighton's crimes will have had a long-lasting impact on the victims. The elderly victim, in particular, was understandably left very shaken by the fact a stranger was in her house for two hours while she slept – and knowing he was armed with a knife to scare her if she did wake up makes it even more terrifying. I'm pleased he is now behind bars and hope that it helps the victims to begin to move on."