Andrew Fitchett, Reporter
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
A serial burglar who broke into six homes, leaving his victims shaken and traumatised, has been jailed for six years.
Lee Holden, 37, of Heathgate, Heartsease, went on a burgling spree just days after being released from prison on January 10, including a spate of four break-ins in four days from February 2 to 6.
Holden was labelled a “dangerous man” as he pleaded guilty to three counts of burglary and one of robbery at Norwich Crown Court yesterday.
In one of the incidents, on February 5, Holden broke into an isolated home in Kirby Bedon at around 11.30am, only to be disturbed by the homeowner when she returned.
The victim, a 46-year-old mother of two, told police Holden had grabbed her by the jacket and “frogmarched” her into the house to open a safe.
He then ripped her handbag from her shoulder and shut her hand in a car door when she attempted to take back jewellery he had snatched.
Chris Youell, prosecuting, told the court the victim was left bruised and shaken by the robbery.
“She feels very jumpy and aware of the slightest sound now and finds it especially difficult at night when her husband is out.
“The incident has had a big effect on her and she said she finds herself playing it over in her head repeatedly,” he said.
Mr Youell added that the robbery had cost the victim around £9,000.
Holden had already struck at two properties the previous day - February 4 - in Wroxham Road, Sprowston.
In the first incident he was interrupted by the homeowner, a woman in her 80s.
Holden barged passed the woman, shoving her into bannister railings as he tried to flee the property.
The victim initially thought nothing had been taken in the incident but later found jewellery items had been taken, including a pocket watch dating back to the 1800s which was a family heirloom.
A further burglary, in Framingham Pigot on January 13, was also taken into consideration.
John Farmer, mitigating, said Holden was a heroin addict and had been stealing to feed his habit.
He said his client had no argument with the charges, which his guilty pleas demonstrated.
Judge Nicholas Coleman, sentencing, said Holden was at a risk of re-offending.
“You have gone out on a mission to burgle and to take whatever you like. In my judgment you are a dangerous man when at liberty,” he said.
He sentenced him to six years imprisonment.
Speaking outside court, Detective Constable Lisa Gough, investigating officer, said: “Holden had a complete disregard for his victims, breaking into their homes to steal sentimental items like jewellery and medals. When confronted his offending escalated into violence - intimidating, threatening and ultimately physically injuring the lady in Kirby Bedon.
“This was a traumatic experience for his victims who had to return home to find Holden had invaded their homes and rifled through personal belongings. Your home is where you are meant to feel safest, and I hope that now Holden is behind bars his victims can move on and feel safe once again.”