Man beat up naked 53-year-old woman in her Harrogate home before stealing jewellery and cash

Shaun Clarke. Credit: North Yorkshire Police
Shaun Clarke. Credit: North Yorkshire Police
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A man who beat up a carer in her own home and stole her jewellery has been jailed for six years.

Shaun Clarke, 26, broke into the 53-year-old victim’s home in Harrogate while she was sleeping.

She was woken by the noise and was just about to get dressed and investigate when Clarke walked into her bedroom in the darkness, York Crown Court heard.

“She froze,” said prosecutor Mrs Taylor. “He walked up to her. She had her phone in her hand. He said, ‘Give me your phone’.”

Clarke headbutted the “petrified” woman in the face with such force she fell back onto the bed.

He then demanded cash before punching her repeatedly and kicking her on the back

and her bottom.

“He said, ‘Cash! Cash!” added Mrs Taylor. “He said, ‘Don’t look at me! Don’t move, don’t scream.’”

Clarke began rifling through the woman’s wardrobe and found her bank card. He then tried to usher her out of the house to a cash machine.

“She told him she didn’t have any (cash),” added Mrs Taylor.

“He punched her two or three times and kicked her on the bottom. She put her arm up to protect herself. She was terrified.”

Clarke told her to “stay quiet” as he stole five rings from her jewellery box.

One of the rings had been left to the victim by her late mother and Clarke also stole a locket with a picture of the victim’s granddaughter on. He also took her wallet, £30 cash and her mobile phone before fleeing.

“She was too afraid to move and stayed there for two hours in the hope that he did not come back,” said Mrs Taylor.

The court heard that the woman, who had no clothes on throughout her ordeal, was terrified that something even worse might happen to her during the attack, in which she suffered “extensive” bruising to the side of her face, eye socket and jawline.

Mrs Taylor said the property in Haywra Street belonged to a man in his 80s who was asleep when Clarke broke in through his bedroom window at about 2.30am on August 9.

The female victim, who was his live-in carer, was “fast asleep” and the elderly man never woke during the incident.

She eventually reported the matter to police and Clarke was arrested about three hours later. He had about £500 on him at the time.

Clarke was hauled in for questioning but refused to answer police questions. However, he was nailed by fingerprint evidence at the scene.

He was initially charged with burglary but ultimately admitted robbery when he appeared for sentence on Monday.

The court heard that the victim, who was named, said she had been unwell since the incident and was “still terrified” to the point that she was considering giving up her job as a carer.

“During the attack, I was so scared,” she added. “He kept hitting me and told me to be quiet. I was so frightened I didn’t dare move. I daren’t call police as I was so frightened, and I laid on the floor for two hours due to the fear I felt.”

Since the attack she had not slept well “because I’m scared to close my eyes” and she’d been getting flashbacks.

“I feel afraid that he will come back and do this again,” she added. “I honestly believe I will never get over this because I feel scared every time I walk out of the door.”

The victim said the jewellery and family heirlooms were “very precious to me and can’t be replaced”.

Clarke, of Claro Avenue, Harrogate, had a long list of previous convictions for offences including serious violence, burglary, robbery, cannabis possession and criminal damage.

In 2015, he was given a four-year jail sentence for two robberies including one in which a pizza delivery driver was hit over the head with a bottle.

Defence barrister Ian Hudson said that Clarke - whose brutal attack on the defenceless woman put him in breach of a suspended jail sentence for driving offences - had “gone off the rails” after he and his partner lost an unborn child following his release from prison.

Jailing Clarke for 76 months, judge Andrew Stubbs QC told him: “You petrified that unfortunate victim. You’ve shattered her confidence.”