Man burgles pensioner waiting for ambulance

A man burgled a pensioner who was lying in her garden with a suspected broken hip and shouting for help, a court has heard.

Patrick Doyle, 37, of North Hill Road, North Hill, Swansea, responded to the 77-year-old woman's cries for help but took advantage or her and her neighbour.

While the neighbour was helping her friend, Doyle rifled through both their houses for things to steal.

Doyle admitted two counts of burglary and was sentenced to three years in prison at Swansea Crown Court on Monday.

On 22 March 2024, the 77-year-old woman went into her garden in the Penlan area of Swansea to hang up washing - but fell to the ground and could not get up.

Doyle jumped over the garden wall, the court heard.

The woman asked him to knock on her neighbour's door - another woman in her 70s - to call an ambulance.

While the neighbour was waiting with her friend for the paramedics, the victim's dog escaped and she asked Doyle to take the pet inside.

He did so, but then the neighbour found him rifling through drawers and cupboards for things to steal.

The defendant made an excuse and left, but when the friend returned to the flat a little later to check what medication her friend was taking to tell paramedics, she found Doyle in the property again and asked him to leave.

It later emerged Doyle had stolen cash, jewellery, and cleaning products from the injured woman.

He had also gone into the neighbour's flat while she was comforting her injured friend in the garden and stolen a bottle of her perfume.

In statements from the two victims, the pensioners told the court of the impact this has had on them.

One said she no longer feels safe in her flat and wishes to move as soon as possible.

Patrick Doyle had previously pleaded guilty to two counts of dwelling burglary when he appeared in the dock for sentencing.

He has 38 previous offences for 85 offences including thefts, burglaries, handling stolen goods, and possession of drugs.

Steve Burnell, for Doyle, said it had been an "opportunistic" burglary rather than a "targeted" one and said his client had enrolled on the 12-steps addiction programme.

Recorder Greg Bull KC told Doyle had a bad record for dishonesty, and that he had taken advantage of the situation he found himself in to burgle the two pensioners' flats.

He said burglary was often rightly regarded as an offence against the person as much as an offence against property because of its impact on victims.

With a one quarter discount for his guilty pleas, Doyle was sentenced to three years in prison.

He will serve up to half that sentence in custody before being released on licence to serve the remainder in the community.

As the hearing ended Doyle said: "Can I say I'm sorry to them?"