Burglar who raided Smethwick student house is jailed
A burglar has been jailed for a year for striking a student property in Smethwick while in breach of a suspended sentence.
Anne O'Halloran, 37, appeared at Wolverhampton Crown Court on Tuesday(19) via video link to answer a charge of burglary.
O'Halloran, of Woodhurst Road, Moseley, Birmingham, pleaded guilty to burglary in relation to an incident at a property in Cape Hill on May 25.
The court heard that she entered the property - student shared accommodation - through an open window to steal a handbag, its contents, £40 and five euros – before being disturbed by the residents.
For committing the latest offence, she was also in breach of a 12-week suspended sentence for a theft offence handed to her only a month prior. O'Halloran also admitted she was in breach.
Prosecuting, Madhu Rai, said: "The victim was in the kitchen at around 8pm with her room mate. She went into her room and saw the defendant behind the door putting various items in a bag. The victim was in shock.
"The complainant tried to pull the defendant into the kitchen. The defendant was saying she wouldn't hurt anyone. She pulled her into the kitchen and her room mate went to get help. Neighbours phoned the police and one of them held onto the defendant until the police arrived. Threats had been made to the complainant by the defendant.
"She was arrested. The bag had been discarded by the defendant out the window onto the ground outside and it was recovered. When the defendant was searched the cash fell from her. All of the items stolen have been recovered.
"The victim said in a statement that they were utterly terrified and was scared to stay in the property. There were three staying in the property who are students and come to the country to study here.
"This offence was committed within a month of her receiving a suspended sentence."
Carl Templar-Vasey, defending, said: "She expresses remorse and she didn't mean any harm to the complainant - she extends her apologies to them.
"She has a long list of dishonesty offences. Thankfully all the items were recovered.
"It appears, from what I am told, she is making some effort in custody to get her life back together."
Judge Dean Kershaw sentenced O'Halloran to nine months in custody for the burglary and three months for the breach of her suspended sentence – to run consecutively.
He said: "The offence places you in breach of your suspended sentence imposed shortly before this offence. It took place while the students were living in their shared accommodation. Those students should have been able to feel safe to leave their window open after going into the kitchen and not worrying about people climbing in from outside and stealing contents.
"The victim staying in the room received the fright of their life, in shock because you were there putting items in bag to take them away. There was a scuffle between the two of you - you wanted to get out, she wanted to get help.
"You have an issue with alcohol. You were intoxicated at the time. Witnesses described you as on drugs or under the influence of alcohol.
"All of the items were thankfully recovered. I am told you are remorseful - in my view, I believe you are. You committed a very mean offence. The victim has stated they were terrified and scared to stay at the property. That is the effect burglaries have on people. They don't feel safe where they are sleeping and they should."