A BURGLAR who smashed his way into a terrified elderly woman’s house before ripping her purse from her hands and fleeing has been jailed.
Jake Lee’s daylight raid — launched after the householder had rebuffed a doorstep demand for cash — left the traumatised victim feeling fearful in her own home, Sheffield Crown Court heard.
Lee (30) read out a long and apologetic letter to his sentencing hearing last Thursday, in which he told of having paranoid and suicidal thoughts and having taken too much medication on the day of the break-in and bag snatch last June.
His barrister, Mr Dermot Hughes, appealed for any prison sentence to be suspended so the defendant could seek rehabilitation and continue treatment for ongoing mental health issues.
But Judge Peter Kelson noted Lee (pictured), of Wagon Road, Greasbrough, had a long criminal record dotted with offences of violence and dishonesty, had breached a suspended sentence order and had targeted an elderly and vulnerable victim.
“You caused £350 of damage as you vandalised your way into the privacy of her own home and demanded her wallet,” the judge said.
“It is terribly serious and you acknowledge yourself the fear you have caused is palpable.”
Mr Stuart Bell, prosecuting, said that Lee had been working as a door-to-door trader selling kitchen items such as sponges, and had previously been to the victim’s house and spoken to her husband.
He called on June 15 when the male householder was not at home and asked for money but was sent away.
“As [the victim] was returning to her living room, she heard the sound of breaking glass and the defendant charged into the room, asking for her wallet,” said Mr Bell.
“He snatched her purse out of her hand, causing a scratch. The defendant took out and emptied the purse, before leaving.”
A driving licence and £150 in cash were stolen, as well as two bank cards, which Lee used to buy a bottle of vodka and a pipe.
The victim — in her 70s — said the raid had left her “very upset and frightened” while her husband was upset as he had been “kind” to Lee when he came to the door.
Lee’s 19 previous convictions included 12 offences of theft, as well as conspiracy to rob, criminal damage and violence against the person.
The defendant — a dad of one — said in the letter he read out in court that he was ashamed and embarrassed, calling the burglary the outcome of a “stupid decision”.
On the day of the crime, he said, the medication he had taken had left him in a state “like a dream” and “making erratic decisions”.
He said he had been sectioned and attempted suicide but was now in contact with a mental health team, adding: “I wish I had had this help when I was 12. I think my life would have gone in a different direction.”
Mr Hughes told the judge that Lee “implores you to offer him the opportunity to turn things around”.
But the judge said it was a clear case of targeting a vulnerable victim, adding: “You forced you way into the house to get money from a woman in her 70s in her own home.”
Lee, who admitted burglary, criminal damage and fraud, was jailed for 32 months.