A serial burglar who ransacked the home of a dying man in Sheffield has been jailed for more than two years.
Neighbours raised the alarm after hearing glass breaking and seeing a man make off with computer equipment from Terrence Redmond’s Sheffield flat.
Stephen Denton, aged 26, had smashed his way into the property in Busk Meadow, Shirecliffe, through a patio window and stolen a PC tower worth about £400 from inside.
Police found Denton at home hours later, where the property was recovered.
Forensics teams matched shards of glass taken from the scene with those found on Denton’s clothing.
Mr Redmond, aged 59, who suffers from a terminal illness, was so disturbed by the ordeal he has been looking to move out.
Louise Gallagher, prosecuting at Sheffield Crown Court yesterday, said: “Denton was interviewed and admitted the offences.
“He said he had smashed the glass and taken the computer tower but didn’t know why he had done it.
“In a victim statement Mr Redmond said,because of his illness, the offence had caused him a lot of grief which he could ‘do without’.
“He said rumours had been reaching him of who was responsible for the break-in before he even knew of the arrest and it had caused him a great deal of stress.
“The victim told police he felt he could not stay at home anymore because he feared trouble and said he had enough to worry about.
“He was considering giving up his tenancy.”
Denton, also of Busk Meadow, Shirecliffe, admitted burglary.
Judge Michael Murphy heard Denton had two previous burglary convictions
Even though the first burglary took place in 2000, when Denton was aged just 13, it still counted towards the ‘three strikes’ rule introduced by the government last year, which says criminals convicted of three dwelling house burglaries face a minimum of three years in jail.
Richard Sheldon, mitigating, said: “He is not a habitual burglar.
“This offence was committed in drink. He has little to no recollection of it.”
Sentencing Denton, Judge Murphy told him: “Parliament take house burglary very seriously and the guidelines are very restrictive. It is the risk burglars take.
“Your victim could ill afford to lose what he did either financially or emotionally.”
Denton was sentenced to two years and five months jail after Judge Murphy reduced the three-year minimum sentence was due to his guilty plea.