Woman left ‘sick with fear’ after burglar tried to climb through her bedroom window

Exeter Crown Court. Picture: Archant

Exeter Crown Court. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

A terrified woman was left feeling sick with fear after a burglar armed with a screwdriver tried to climb into the window of her bedroom in the middle of the night.

Harry Hill had unscrewed a wooden panel which covered a broken pane of glass in the ground floor flat in Barnstaple and was reaching through to try to grab her television.

He claimed to be owed £70 by the victim and broke into her home at 3.30am on April 1 this year to try and get it back.

She managed to grab back the television after grappling with Hill as he leant through the window but he made off with a one euro coin which he stole from the windowsill before fleeing from police on foot.

Hill, aged 21, of Bear Street, Barnstaple, admitted burglary and was jailed for 14 months, suspended for two years by Judge Timothy Rose at Exeter Crown Court.

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He was also banned from contacting the victim or going back to her home in Barnstaple by a three-year restraining order.

The judge told him: “This burglary was a serious matter which caused a great deal of shock to the victim.

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“You may have thought you were trying to get money back but you turned up at 3.30am in pitch darkness and used a screwdriver to get in through a boarded-up window in the dead of night.”

Felicity Payne, prosecuting, said the victim was awoken by the sound of the board being unscrewed and did not know who was breaking in until she challenged the intruder.

Hill had lived in another room at the house until a few weeks previously and believed he was owed £70.

He demanded the money and leaned through the window to seize her television before she grabbed it back. She and a neighbour called the police, who chased Hill down the street and arrested him, still complaining about not getting his £70 back.

A victim statement from the woman said: “I am shaking and crying and feel scared in my own home. I was woken by someone trying to climb into my personal space with a screwdriver. It made me feel sick with fear.”

Bathsheba Cassel, defending, said Hill has mental health issues which lay behind his action but accepts he made a bad decision and plans to seek help.

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