Burglar jailed for raid on Leeds pensioner’s home days after her death

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A BURGLAR who raided a Leeds pensioner’s home just days after her death has been jailed for 32 months.

Leeds Crown Court heard 37-year-old Darren Darby lived close to the woman’s home in Beeston and targeted it after she passed away.

Prosecutor, James Weekes said Joan Smith had lived at the house on Longroyd Street until March 3 this year. Mr Weekes said after her death, Joan Smith’s family had left the house locked and secure.

Mr Weekes added: “It’s extremely likely he knew the house was empty.”

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The court heard a neighbour called police after hearing glass being smashed in the early hours of March 6. She saw two men walking down the street, one carrying a hammer.

A porch window at the house had been smashed and an internal door had been kicked in.

Police arrested Darby on Longroyd Street.

He initially denied being involved, but his fingerprints were found on the hammer and a footprint matching his shoes was discovered on the damaged internal door.

Darby, of Longroyd View, Beeston, admitted burglary.

The court heard he has 14 previous convictions for 65 offences, including 32 house burglaries.

Mitigating, Anthony Sugare said Darby has a serious drug problem.

He said nothing was stolen during the incident, adding: “Why he has got himself involved in this particular incident, I cannot get from the defendant.

“He says he didn’t intend to commit this offence.”

Jailing Darby for 32 months, Recorder Kate Tulk told him: “You were equipped for burglary with that hammer.

“There is a suggestion the premises were deliberately targeted because you knew that the lady who lived there had died and that the premises were empty.”

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