Burglar who attacked have-a-go hero with hammer jailed for 13 years
An armed raider, who attacked a have-a-go-hero with a hammer after being caught red handed burgling the victim's home, was starting a 13-year jail sentence today.
Gordon Whitehouse and two others smashed their way into the West Bromwich address waking 40-year-old Tina Woodward, a disabled woman whose bedroom was on the ground floor, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.
She bravely tried to stop them from getting further into the property but was kicked to the ground and stamped on the face, said Mr Howard Searle, prosecution.
The commotion woke her brother Karl, aged 50, who came downstairs to investigate and was confronted by the hooded, hammer wielding figure of 52-year-old Whitehouse.
The bungling burglar - he had broken into the wrong house - raised the weapon into the air and demanded: 'Give me the money,' but did not faze Mr Woodward who promptly rugby tackled him, continued the prosecutor.
A struggle developed between the two men as police were alerted and courageous Mr Woodward shrugged off several blows from the hammer to hang onto the culprit until officers reached the scene to arrest the defendant. Meanwhile the rest of the three strong gang fled empty handed and have not been traced.
Mr Woodward was left bleeding heavily from wounds to his head and face but fortunately did not suffer any fractures while his sister received severe bruising.
Whitehouse had 35 previous convictions involving 88 separate offences and was on licence after being freed early from a nine year sentence imposed for a burglary during which he wore a crash helmet and was armed with an imitation firearm. The victim of that crime subsequently suffered a cardiac arrest and died but no direct link was established between the two incidents, the court heard.
Mr Stuart Clarkson, defending, said: "The rationale for this offence was money but it was the wrong people at the wrong address. Fortunately no bones were broken and nothing was taken."
Whitehouse from Monmouth Drive, West Bromwich pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary and was jailed for 13 years with three years more monitoring than normal on release because he was ruled to pose a significant danger of causing serious harm to the public.
Judge James Burbidge QC told him: "You were on early release for a similar offence after which somebody had suffered a cardiac arrest and died. Even that did not deter you from forcibly entering somebody else's home."
The judge praised the courage displayed by both Mr and Miss Woodward and ordered both should receive £250 from public funds, to be presented by the High Sheriff. Each suffered physically and emotionally as a result of the crime.