A burglar who tried to break into an elderly York couple’s home while they slept has been jailed for more than three years.
Paul Barker, 41, was told he should “hang your head in shame” by York’s chief judge Sean Morris after hearing that the elderly female victim fell over during the break-in and ended up in hospital.
She stumbled and fell after being woken up by a “banging” noise in the early hours of the morning while she was asleep in a downstairs room, prosecutor Jordan Millican told York Crown Court.
Her courageous husband then confronted Barker outside the house.
Barker, who was on bail at the time, “blagged his way out if it” and fled but was later nailed by DNA evidence he had left at the scene.
The court heard that the named elderly victims, both in their 80s, had suffered “devastating” psychological harm due to Barker’s actions.
Barker, of Union Terrace, York, was charged with attempted burglary and admitted the offence. He appeared for sentence via video link today after being remanded in custody.
The court heard that the elderly male victim had served his country either as a policeman or in the military.
Mr Millican said Barker had previous convictions including two burglaries.
Defence barrister Lily Wildman conceded that Barker must receive a lengthy prison sentence because his actions had had a “substantial” impact on the elderly couple.
It was accepted that Barker would have known there were elderly people inside the home before trying to break in.
Judge Mr Morris, the Recorder of York, told Barker: “You should hang your head in shame. You targeted a house which was obviously the house of elderly people.
“The female occupant was sleeping in the downstairs room. She got up to see what the banging was, fell over and was hospitalised.
“The only reason it wasn’t a fully successful burglary was that the elderly husband came out and confronted you.
“You have caused devastating psychological harm to this elderly couple in their 80s. People in the twilight of their years are entitled to live in peace and dignity.
“Here is a man (the male victim) who has served his country, either in the police or the armed forces, and look at what you have done to them.”
He added: “The courts will protect the elderly, just so the people who prowl around the city at night, looking for easy targets, know that if they target pensioners then the court will pass as big a sentence as possible under the sentencing guidelines.”
Mr Morris said the effect on the couple had been “so great” that he must pass a severe sentence.
Jailing Barker for three years and two months, the judge told him he now had “38 months to atone for your guilt”.
Barker, who was also given a 10-year restraining order banning him from going near their home in York, said he was “very sorry and ashamed” for what he had done.