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Woman, 88, encountered burglar in her house near Telford

By Deborah Hardiman | Telford | Crime | Published:

An 88-year-old woman came face to face with a burglar in her home near Telford after she took a break from gardening, a court heard.

Philip Buckell

Philip Buckell fled from the property in Cliff Crescent, Ellerdine, with a purse containing cash, family photographs and letters from her late husband.

Shrewsbury Crown Court was told the defendant, aged 43, left the scene in a white van and was caught after other people in the area made a note of the registration plate which was passed to the police.

Mr Robert Edwards, prosecuting, told the court the householder went outside to work in her garden at about 8.30am on November 11 last year when Buckell entered her house.

He said: “She returned to the house at about 9.25am and while outside had left the side door open.

“Inside she found a man she had never seen before.

Startled him

“He said to her that he had seen a cat run into the street and he was looking for it. He then left the premises.

“She said she believed that she startled him.

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“She describes how he got into a little white maintenance van. Afterwards she noticed that her purse was missing from where she had left it on a unit in the hallway.

“It contained £3 in cash and various other items including photos of her grandchildren and letters from her late husband.”

Mr Edwards added: “In her victim impact statement she said she found the experience scary, she was trembling and it took her a while to get over it.

“She says she thinks it was disgusting that the defendant took advantage the situation.

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“She is now hardly opens her door, is nervous and worried about leaving her house to go out.”

Buckell, of Teeside, admitted an offence of burglary at the hearing earlier this week.

The court heard he has previous convictions for 43 offences including burglary, theft and drug possession dating back to the 1990s. When he was arrested for the latest matter he made no comment to the police.

Bad record

Mr Paul Smith, mitigating, said: “The defendant says he had recently found a job, but the pay was quite low and he found himself in financial difficulty.

“He wishes to apologise for his actions and says it was not due to drug abuse. As a result of this offence the relationship with his wife is under strain.”

For burglary he was jailed for two years and nine months.

He must serve half before he is released on licence.

Judge Peter Barrie said: “You have a bad record of offending.

“This is one of those cases where you have waited until the evidence was strong against you before you changed your plea to guilty.

“You are only entitled to 30 per cent credit for it.”

Deborah Hardiman

By Deborah Hardiman
@Deborahh_Star

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star based out of the head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.

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