A DRUG addict who repeatedly broke into his 87-year-old grandmother’s Leamington home to steal items he could sell to feed his habit has escaped being jailed despite his mean offences.
Paul Murphy pleaded guilty at Warwickshire Magistrates’ Court in Leamington to causing criminal damage, three charges of burglary and being in breach of a conditional discharge.
The 31-year-old, of Forfield Place, Leamington, was sentenced to eight months in prison suspended for 12 months, with a rehabilitation activity for 30 days.
Magistrates also ordered him to pay £220 compensation to his grandmother and imposed a restraining order prohibiting him from going to the street where she lives or pestering her.
Prosecutor Jez Newsome said Murphy’s grandmother had always had a close relationship with him – but in September he began targeting her with a series of offences.
It began when he turned up at her home and argued with her after she refused to give him money.
Murphy, who had a drug dependency, unplugged her TV, and when she took hold of it to stop him taking it, he put his hand on her shoulder, causing her to drop the television, damaging the screen.
Two days later he returned and repeatedly asked her for money and, fearing there would be a further incident, she gave him £15 – although Mr Newsome said there was no charge in relation to that.
Then he entered his grandmother’s home again, letting himself in through an unlocked door, and stole a different television, worth £200, which he sold for just £15.
Murphy got in again later in the month and stole the key to his grandmother’s Ford Fiesta.
As a result, the car was moved to her son’s home because she was concerned the thief would use the key to steal the car – only for it to then be taken from there by someone to whom Murphy had sold the key for £20.
Then he broke in again by smashing a rear window, and stole food which he ate there before leaving.
When Murphy, who had been given a conditional discharge in April for shoplifting and was convicted of possessing cannabis in August, was arrested, he made full admissions.
Murphy, who had no legal representation, said he was sorry and promised there would be no repeat.
Sentencing Murphy, magistrate Vanessa Marvell told him: “We feel these are so serious that only a custodial sentence is appropriate – but we are going to suspend that sentence.
“The reason it is so serious is the number of burglaries, the vulnerable victim who was targeted repeatedly, and the force that was used that caused damage.”