Axminster burglar made hepatitis C threat to victim

PUBLISHED: 10:03 08 July 2009 | UPDATED: 23:47 15 June 2010

Court case

Court case

Copyright Archant Ltd

An East Devon burglar who spat at a victim and told him: I will give you Hep C has been jailed for three years.

An East Devon burglar who spat at a victim and told him: "I will give you Hep C" has been jailed for three years.

Exeter Crown Court heard the victims of 2- year-old Jason Richards' two night-time raids were terrified in their own homes and now felt scared and vulnerable.

Prosecutor Alex Allsop said the first raid at Willhay Lane, Axminster, happened in the early hours of the morning when the owners John and Jacqueline Thomson were asleep in their bed. They heard a creaking noise and thought it might be their young son but when Mr Thomson went to investigate he saw a man leaving by the open front door.

He chased after the intruder and eventually caught him whereupon Richards spat at him and made the disease threat.

In the second raid, Helen Speed's son was at home on his own while his mother worked nights. When she returned she found the back door open and property missing.

Police later searched Richards' address and found some of the stolen goods hidden behind a stereo.

Mr Allsop said in victim impact statements Mr and Mrs Thomson both said they felt vulnerable in their home and fearful that Richards might launch a revenge attack on them.

Ms Speed said she too felt worried about being alone in her home and she and her son usually went back together. She too was worried about Richards coming back again.

Mitigating, Vanessa Francis said Richards had drifted into drugs which had then become an addiction and had led to him being homeless for a long time. He had then been found accommodation by the local authority and was devastated that he would now lose that.

She said Richards accepted that the offences were unpleasant and had aggravating features. However he had owned up at the first available opportunity.

Richards, of Cridlake, Axminster pleaded guilty to the two burglaries which happened last month.

Passing the prison sentence, Judge John Neligan told Richards: "These were night-time raids which have left the victim feeling vulnerable in their homes where they should be entitle to feel safe. You have violated that and one can only imagine how they feel.

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