Woman fled as three men burst into home
Johnson wept in the dock as he was sentenced
A WOMAN fled from her home after three men, one armed with a crowbar, burst in, a court heard.
She saw a getaway car waiting outside and memorised the registration number plate, which led to the capture of one of the intruders.
Leicester Crown Court was told the vehicle belonged to Andrew Johnson, 31, whom the victim later picked out in an identity procedure as the burglar holding the crowbar.
James Bide-Thomas, prosecuting, said the victim’s husband had gone outside the property in Hinckley Road, Barwell, to investigate after hearing a noise.
While he was searching elsewhere, a group of three, including the defendant, came in through the front door.
The defendant, who was wearing a hood, told her to get out of the way, but she bravely shouted at him to get out.
“Two other men came in and went upstairs and she then ran outside in fear,” said Mr Bide-Thomas.
There was a car with the engine running and she kept repeating the number plate to herself until the gang had left and she could go inside and write it down. The intruders had rifled about the house, where a business was also being run, but left emptyhanded. Johnson, of Orton Place, Earl Shilton, denied burglary with intent to steal, claiming the householder had mistakenly identified him as being involved, on January 7, 2016. But the jury convicted him unanimously after a trial.
The defendant had earlier admitted handling stolen goods, work tools, taken by persons unknown from a factory break-in the previous evening - which he had then offered for sale.
Johnson sobbed in the dock as he was found guilty of the house burglary and continued to protest his innocence.
The delay in the trial taking place was down to lack of court time and was adjourned several times, said Mr BideThomas.
Jailing Johnson for three years, Judge Nicholas Dean QC said: “You’ve been found guilty of the burglary of a house used by a couple to run a business and there must have been an element of planning.
“You and others suspected money was held there and thought it was an easy target.”
The Judge told Johnson: “You’ve previously been involved in burglaries at commercial and abandoned premises, to steal scrap metal, but this was a step up for you.
“This home was occupied when you and your group or gang went in.
“The complainant isn’t elderly but she was diminutive and, to an extent, vulnerable ... she exhibited a degree of courage.
“You carried a crowbar which would have been frightening.
“Three of you entered the premises and a fourth person was driving the car - your car.”
The judge said he accepted Johnson had “vulnerabilities” of his own and had since turned his life around for the better.
Philip Plant, mitigating after the verdict, said Johnson had a partner and a young family with a third child on the way.
He said the defendant had been trying to distance himself from previous bad influences that had led him into offending in the past and was hoping to steer clear of criminal activity in future.
You and others suspected money was held there and thought it was an easy target Judge Nicholas Dean QC