@ Crime, News Nick Towle
‘Utterly despicable’ York burglar hit terrified woman in the face with a torch as she lay in bed
A terrified woman had a torch shone in her face as she lay in bed and was then hit in the face when a York burglar broke into her home.
The woman and her son were woken when raiders snapped a lock to gain entry to their home, York Crown Court heard.
She was lying in bed when she saw a figure looming over her and a torch being shone in her face, said prosecutor Harry Crowson.
In moments, she was struck in the face with something, probably the torch, but avoided serious injury, added Mr Crowson.
The burglar then snuck into her son’s room and shone a torch in his direction, before fleeing with his car keys which was were used to steal his £16,000 Seat Leon, along with his wallet and bank card.
One of the burglars, Reece Davidson, 24, was arrested after GPS technology linked to his phone put him at the scene of the raid and travelling between York and Malton on the day in question.
Davidson, of Carr Lane, York, was arrested and charged with burglary and theft of a vehicle. He admitted the offences but on the basis that it wasn’t him who broke into the house and assaulted the woman.
He appeared for sentence yesterday (Thursday).
The Crown proceeded to sentence on the basis that the raid was a joint enterprise and it was not known which one of the burglars assaulted the victim.
Looming over her
Mr Crowson said at least two men were involved in the break-in which occurred at about 3.45am on 15 October, when the raiders snapped the lock on a patio door at the house in Dairy Way, Norton, Malton.
The two victims, who were both named in court, were woken and the mother went downstairs to investigate, but didn’t see anything amiss.
“She thought the house was secure and went back to bed,” said Mr Crowson. “A single male went into her bedroom and shone a torch in her face.”
At first, she thought it was her son, but then to her horror she realised that the figure looming over her bed was an intruder who then “struck her in the face” with a weapon, possibly the torch.
The thieves drove off in the Seat and stole the keys to the victim’s other car, an Audi A1.
Mr Crowson said the thieves had changed the number plates on the Seat within three hours of the burglary. The cloned plates had been stolen that same night from another property in the village.
Fortunately, the victim had an Apple Airtag tracker attached to the car keys which enabled police to find the Seat in a nearby street soon afterwards.
Police also discovered that a Ford Transit van had been used by the burglars, which was also on fraudulent licence plates and ostensibly used to move stolen items around. That vehicle was also found abandoned in Malton.
Davidson was arrested the following day in an alleyway off Eastfield Road, Norton, near where the Transit van was located.
Mr Crowson said Davidson had eight previous convictions for 25 offences, mostly driving matters.
Defence barrister Emily Hassell said the father-of-three had a cocaine and cannabis problem.
Judge Simon Hickey said this was “one of the most serious burglaries” given the assault on the woman in her bedroom.
He said the raid was a “joint enterprise” regardless of who was in the bedrooms and that it had had a “traumatic” effect on the mother and son, who had turned up in court to see one of their tormentors face justice.
He said the mother now felt “completely unsafe in her own home”.
Jailing Davidson for four years and three months, the judge said his drug use had resulted in a “depressing spiral of debt and crime”.
Davidson was also slapped with a 10-year restraining order banning him from contacting the victims.
After the sentence, Detective Constable Oliver Dalby said: “This was a really harrowing experience for the victim which has left them profoundly affected.
“Davidson’s actions were utterly despicable, actions for which he has shown absolutely no remorse.
“To be involved in a break-in where the homeowner was assaulted while she lay in her own bed, the place we are supposed to feel the safest, is wholly reprehensible.”