'She was absolutely petrified': Woman confronted by intruder holding metal bar as she was in the shower at her flat in Leeds

A woman was "absolutely petrified" when she was confronted by an intruder holding a metal bar as she was in the shower at her home in Leeds.

Wednesday, 5th May 2021, 6:00 am

Harry Merriman used the weapon to smash the shower screen as the victim screamed in fear.

Leeds Crown Court heard the woman suffered cuts to her feet as she had to run over the broken glass as she fled in terror.

Merriman was jailed for six months over the incident at Oatland Court, Woodhouse, on September 12 last year.

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Oatland Court, Woodhouse.

Kate Barnes, prosecuting, said the young woman returned home from running at 11.40am and went for a shower.

While in the shower she heard movement inside the property but assumed it was her partner returning home.

Ms Barnes said: "She turned around and saw the defendant in the bathroom holding a metal bar at chest height and screamed."

Merriman, who had his hood pulled up, used the metal bar to strike the shower screen two or three times, causing it to smash.

The defendant left the property after about a minute.

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Merriman had been seen in a communal hallway at the flats earlier the same day, trying the door handle of a neighbouring property.

A witness described how he appeared drunk and agitated and claimed to be looking for his phone.

When Merriman was arrested he said he had been drinking at the flats and had fallen asleep in the corridor.

The defendant said he had been looking for his mobile phone when he committed the offence.

Merriman, 22, of Skelwith Walk, Seacroft, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm, criminal damage and possessing an offensive weapon.

Shila Whitehead, mitigating, said: "He cannot believe how he has behaved. He deeply regrets all of his actions and what took place and what that young lady would have feared."

Ms Whitehead said the defendant worked hard as a grave digger and lived with his parents.

"With one mad act of stupidity he has risked everything.

"If he could turn the clock back he inevitably would.

"He stands back in horror looking at what he is in the dock for today."

Judge Christopher Batty told Merriman the offending was too serious to impose anything other than an immediate prison sentence.

He said: "She was absolutely petrified.

"You can't be more vulnerable than to be naked in your own shower when someone comes in with a hood over their head and a bar in their hand.

"You are a decent young man and well thought of.

"But I am sorry to say you are going to have to go to custody today.

"I just cannot overlook breaking into someone's house and frightening them in this way."