Bungling burglar caught after fall

Anthony Wayne Cotton, jailed for three years 1 month for burglary of Sheffield student house.
Anthony Wayne Cotton, jailed for three years 1 month for burglary of Sheffield student house.
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A bungling burglar was traced by police after he fell over and left his DNA behind as he fled the scene of his crime.

Father-to-be Anthony Wayne Cotton, aged 29, will miss the birth of his first child after being jailed for breaking into a student house in Sheffield.

Rachael Dixon shouted ‘get out’ as she heard footsteps coming from the attic of the Hunters Bar property on September 4.

Moments later Cotton ran past her in a getaway bid, but tripped over a rucksack and fell straight into a nearby window.

Beth Tait, prosecuting at Sheffield Crown Court, said: “The defendant went bang into the French windows and left his DNA all over them.

“A crime scene investigation officer was then able to take a sample, which was traced back to him.

“He was arrested but did not admit the offence in interview.

“He said he had been to a few student parties in the area and that was a possible reason his DNA had been found at the house.”

Miss Dixon told police the ordeal had left her frightened of being home alone, and another student whose laptop was stolen described the incident as ‘a terrible start to the new term’.

The burglary was the third strike for Cotton, who was also serving a suspended sentence at the time.

He pleaded guilty to burglary at a dwelling at an earlier hearing at Sheffield Crown Court.

Paul O’Shea, defending, said: “There was no confrontation, he simply tried to run past her.

“His partner of two years is pregnant and he knows he will miss the birth of his child. She is four or five months pregnant and will have to deal with it alone.”

Cotton, of Elmore Road, Broomhill, Sheffield, was sentenced to three years and one month for burglary and breach of a suspended sentence.

Judge Michael Murphy said: “You have led something of a charmed life having not been deprived of your liberty until now.

“Courts treat house burglary as a particularly serious matter because of what it does to the victims. It undermines their confidence.”