A VULNERABLE woman, whose health problems mean she has to sleep downstairs, was disturbed in the middle of the night by an intruder who climbed into her home through an open window.
Despite her difficulties, she went to investigate and challenged prolific burglar Robin Fielder when she saw him in the kitchen.
He fled with her handbag, but was arrested after the police tracked him to the nearby canal towpath, Warwick Crown Court has heard.
Fielder, 44, of Fulmar Close, Aldermans Green, Coventry, was jailed for three years after pleading guilty to the burglary and asking for two thefts to be taken into consideration.
Prosecutor Lal Amarasinghe said Fielder’s victim was a retired lady who lives alone and is ‘extremely vulnerable’ because of health problems, as a result of which she has to sleep downstairs at her Bedworth home.
She sleeps with the windows open to allow oxygen to circulate, and at 4.45 in the morning on February 12 she was woken by noises, so got out of bed and went to investigate.
When she saw Fielder in the kitchen, she shouted at him, at which he fled through the back door with a jar of coffee, her handbag containing her purse and about £100 in cash, and her mobile phone.
She called the police, and officers with a police dog tracked Fielder to the nearby canal towpath where he was arrested and admitted carrying out the burglary by climbing in through the open bathroom window.
Mr Amarasinghe pointed out that in an impact statement the woman says the incident has unnerved her, and she is now worried about being in the house alone at night.
He added that Fielder’s record was ‘quite appalling,’ with 21 offences of burglary or attempted burglary, although the last one had been in 2009 when he had been jailed for four years.
David Everett, defending, said Fielder, who lives alone, had been on benefits since his release from his last sentence in 2016, and was having difficulty making ends meet.
He had started taking drugs in his teens, and was adding to his financial problems by buying cannabis and amphetamine, for which he owed money.
Mr Everett added that Fielder had gone out that night intending to steal a bike, which was supported by the fact that the matters to be taken into consideration were both bike thefts, but gave in to temptation when he saw the open window.
Jailing Fielder, Judge Sylvia de Bertodano told him: “You know that if you go into someone’s house and disturb them, it is very frightening for them, and especially for a woman who is vulnerable.
“But it looks to me as though you have gone some way to breaking that habit, as there had been no burglary offences since 2009.
“I think, at the age of 44, it’s probably time you turned your back on this. You don’t want to spend your 50s in this way.”