WITHIN hours of being released from prison a man broke into a retired woman’s Leamington home – and then robbed her when she and her sisters returned while he was still upstairs.
And unusually, when Lee Pheasey appeared in court to be sentenced, instead of asking for the shortest possible sentence – his barrister asked the judge to impose the longest he could.
The 29 year-old, of no fixed address, but formerly of Priory Road, Warwick, had pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to charges of burglary, robbery and attempted robbery.
And at Coventry Crown Court his wish was granted when he was given extended sentence of five years in jail, of which he will have to serve at least two-thirds, after which he will be on licence for the rest of the term and for a further three years.
Prosecutor Ian Windridge said on August 14 last year Pheasey was released on licence from a 52-month sentence for smuggling drugs into HMP Hewell near Redditch in 2012.
Early that afternoon he broke into a house in Cambridge Gardens, Upper Holly Walk, by smashing a glass panel.
A retired woman returned home with her two sisters and saw the alarm flashing.
Pheasey was inside. He threatened on of the sisters who found him upstairs, before grabbing the home owner’s handbag as he fled – causing her to fall down a few stairs and hit her head against the wall.
Part of a sleeve was found outside the broken patio door, and tests subsequently showed DNA on it matched Pheasey – who by then had been jailed for three years for a further robbery.
That had involved him stealing lamb from the Co-op store in Clemens Street, Leamington, and, when challenged by the manager, threatening him with a full syringe which had a dirty needle.
The drug offence from which he was on licence had taken place after he had been recalled to prison for breaching the terms of his licence from an earlier sentence for burglary.
Back at HMP Hewell he was subjected to a body scan, and it was found he had secreted 175 wraps of heroin worth £8,000 as well as £130 worth of cocaine and £1,100 worth of cannabis.
When he was questioned in prison about the robbery in the house Pheasey, who had other previous convictions for offences of burglary and theft, made no comment.
Ian Speed, defending, said: “He went no comment in interview, but the officer said how upset he was at the end and said he didn’t mean to hurt anyone.”
And surprisingly, Mr Speed told the judge: “He wants me to ask for the longest sentence you can impose. He is a lonely man who has become institutionalised. He will do anything to stay inside.”
Judge Richard Griffith-Jones told Pheasey: “Although you yourself are a vulnerable man, you recognise there is a severe risk, if you’re released in the near future, you would be straight out, desperate to get money to buy heroin, and wold commit just the sort of offences you have ended up in prison for.
“Quite obviously these offences are so serious that only a custodial sentence can be justified. You poses a high risk of serious harm to the general public, either retail staff or home-owners.”