A man who broke into a house by making a secret passageway through the loft has been jailed for nearly four years.
The brave victim, an elderly woman, tried to fight him off with her walking sticks but was shoved to the ground and watched as he disappeared through the loft hatch.
The pensioner had been sitting in her living room at around 10.30pm on Wednesday 8 July in the Lincoln Bridge Road area of Newark when she saw a hand covered by a black glove appear on the door frame.
She grabbed her walking sticks and opened the door to discover a figure hiding behind it in the dark – 39-year-old Michael Barrett. She hit Barrett with her sticks but he pushed her to the floor before running off.
The victim dragged herself along the hall in order to get a good look at the Barrett and saw the loft hatch was open and a pair of legs hanging from it before they disappeared with the latch closed behind them.
She called Nottinghamshire Police and officers arrived within minutes. They searched the house and established that several bricks had been put in place in the loft space without cement.
Barrett, of Yorke Drive, Newark, was arrested nearby and sentenced to three years, nine months in prison at Nottingham Crown Court yesterday (Thursday 17 September) having pleaded guilty to burglary with violence and causing actual bodily harm on 7 August.
Detective Sergeant Andy Hall, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “It’s our belief that Barrett had made himself a secret entry point into this house by removing the bricks and tried to cover his tracks by putting them back in place behind him, probably in a bid to come and go as he pleased and steal items over time.
“He committed a despicable crime, deliberately preying on an elderly woman, who despite being subjected to such a terrifying ordeal, acted bravely and was able to provide such an accurate account of what happened.
“Our officers made swift and thorough enquiries arresting Barrett nearby and my team gathered all the evidence required to bring him before the court which has resulted in this substantial jail term.
“We’re pleased with the result and hope the victim can move forward knowing the offender is now behind bars.”