A WOMAN with a serious heart condition who had been given just nine months to live was devastated when her Warwick home was broken into and her wedding ring stolen.
And to add to her distress, burglar Ian Brook’s blood was on her jewellery box in her and her partner’s bedroom, a judge has heard.
The 50 year-old of Torcross Avenue, Wyken, Coventry, was jailed for two years after pleading guilty at Warwick Crown Court to charges of burglary and attempted burglary.
Andrew Tucker, prosecuting, said the burglary took place at the home of a woman and her partner in Basant Close in November last year.
“The great sadness of the case is that at the time he burgled their home she knew she only had about nine months left to live. She had been so informed by her doctor because of a serious heart condition.”
Mr Tucker said Brook and two others had travelled to Warwick by car, and had been seen acting suspiciously, ‘scouting the area’ during the afternoon.
They forced their way into the house by smashing a kitchen window and carried out a messy search before escaping with jewellery, including a wedding ring, a laptop computer and electrical items.
Mr Tucker added as a result of the break-in, and knowing she did not have long to live, she felt unsafe in her home ‘which manifested itself in a desire to move house completely.’
Three weeks later Brook and another man broke into a house in Strathearn Road, Leamington, by forcing open a back door and an internal door before making their way upstairs.
But they set off a burglar alarm which attracted the attention of people nearby, and they fled empty-handed to Brook’s car and drove off.
One of the people who saw them ‘acted in a very public-spirited way’ by taking photographs of them and the car, putting himself at risk from them as they realised what he was doing.
As a result, Brook handed himself in to the police six days later, but claimed he would lend his car to other people and denied being involved in the burglary.
But DNA tests proved blood found on the jewellery box, from where the ring was taken, was Brook’s, and also linked him to the attempted burglary.
Mr Tucker added Brook had 24 convictions for 62 offences, including a house burglary in the 80s, but many were as a juvenile and his last offence had been in 2009.
David Jackson, defending, said Brook had run a successful business but it came to a “dramatic end” because of dishonesty by his business manager.
Mr Jackson added: “It caused him and his partner financial ruin and he resorted to binge drinking, as much as a bottle of spirits a day.
“Having lost the business, he is now reliant on state benefits. When he was approached by two people to become involved, he succumbed to the temptation.”
Judge Andrew Lockhart QC rejected a suggestion the sentence could be suspended.
He told Brook: “In the burglary her wedding band was taken from her jewellery box on her dressing table. That would be of a highly sentimental value for anybody.
“She was suffering from a serious medical condition. You were not to know that, but that’s the risk you run when you go into someone’s home.
“She has suffered severe trauma.”