Career burglar ‘may die in jail’
A TERMINALLY-ill career burglar is likely to die in prison after he was locked up for another break-in.
A judge said Richard Donnelly (48) was facing a three-year sentence for a “mean, despicable burglary” of one of his neighbours.
But Recorder Paul Reid added that Donnelly’s state of health was “clearly appalling” due to excessive drinking and said his “days were numbered”.
The judge jailed him for just nine months because of his early guilty plea and poor state of health.
Andrew Bailey, mitigating, told Sheffield Crown Court: “He could well have no more than three months to live, his cirrhosis of the liver is so very significant.”
Donnelly, of Acorn Place, Rawmarsh, broke into and ransacked the one-bedroom bungalow of a couple in their sixties while they were on holiday.
Police interrupted their holiday to tell them of the break-in through a broken bathroom window, said Carl Fitch, prosecuting.
Their bedroom was ransacked with the contents of drawers scattered on the floor and sentimental jewellery, two televisions and £2,000 cash stolen.
b3Donnelly, who lived two doors away, knocked on the couple’s door before police arrived to protest his innocence.
But the two televisions and remote controls were later found in his outhouse although the jewellery and cash have never been recovered. Donnelly’s blood was also found on the bathroom wall.
Although the offence crossed the custody threshold, he argued that his poor health was an “exceptional” mitigating feature which could allow the judge to suspend the jail term.
But Recorder Reid said Donnelly had an “appalling” record with many offences of domestic burglary and his victims were “sickened by the desecration of their home”.
He said: “Even after this you went and told them you hadn’t been involved.”
The judge told Donnelly: “I have given serious consideration to suspending the sentence but I do not feel I can in the circumstances of this case.
“You were not so drunk as to see what you were doing.”