A BURGLAR who had broken into a Warwick house escaped after an accomplice shouted to him to stab the householder who had returned home and confronted him.
But even though the owner did not see the get-away car, his experience in the automotive industry helped him to identify it as having a Vauxhall 1.6 diesel engine.
And burglar Michael McDonagh was arrested after the car was traced and his fingerprints were found inside.
The 19-year-old, of Signet Square, Coventry, pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to burgling the house in Faulconbridge Way, and a later offence of possessing an offensive weapon.
He was given a 12-month community order, with a rehabilitation activity for 25 days, after the judge heard he had served the equivalent of a six-month prison sentence on remand.
Prosecutor William Dudley said at 3am on January 13 last year a man returned to his home in Faulconbridge Way, where his pregnant wife was asleep in bed upstairs.
He heard a noise from the living room where he found McDonagh, who had got in through a window, and as he took hold of him, McDonagh shouted out of the window: “Help, he’s got me.”
And a voice from outside responded “stab him”.
On hearing that, the householder understandably let him go, and McDonagh escaped with an Armani watch and a handbag which contained about £140 in cash and gift cards.
Mr Dudley pointed out the day after the burglary, the man’s wife had suffered a miscarriage – which he believed had been brought on by the distress over the incident.
Julian Lynch, defending, said McDonagh, who suffers from schizophrenia, was still a very young man, and he had found his first taste of custody, while on remand, very difficult.
Sentencing McDonagh, Judge Sylvia de Bertodano told him: “You are here principally for the burglary matter in January last year when you went to a house in the early hours of the morning.
“The lady who lived in the house was asleep at the time, and her husband was not at home, and he came back to find you stealing his belongings and tried to detain you.
“He ascribes [his wife] having a miscarriage to this. You were not to know about that, but if you break into someone’s house and steal their things.
“The appropriate sentence for the burglary, even given your youth and relatively good character, would have been 27 months, and for the offensive weapon three month consecutive.
“If you breach this order, if you steal so much as a packet of Polos from a shop, you will come back here. If I see you again, that is the sentence I will pass.”