A woman in her 70s in the early stages of dementia was confronted by two burglars in her home in the middle of the afternoon.
Malcolm John Hall and Kayleigh Marie Francis searched the woman’s bedroom looking for things to steal to fund their drug habits.
Between them the pair have previous convictions for more than 130 offences – including domestic burglaries.
A judge said it must have been a “bewildering” experience for their victim.
Swansea Crown Court heard the victim was cooking a meal in her flat in Joseph Davies Close, Waun Wen, Swansea, on the afternoon of November 14 when the intruders entered the property.
James Hartson, prosecuting, said the homeowner – a 73-year-old woman with limited visibility and in the early stages of dementia – was confronted by 31-year-old Hall in the passageway of the house. At the same time the victim’s granddaughter – who had popped in to help her grandmother – came across Francis in a bedroom.
The court heard the granddaughter tried speaking nicely to 26-year-old Francis in the hopes of defusing the situation but when she asked the burglar to leave or the police would be called, the defendant replied: “Don’t talk to me like that.”
The pair left the flat, only for Hall to return a short time later – he knocked on the door, and asked for vinegar.
Police were called, and the burglars were arrested two streets away.
Mr Hartson said when the flat was checked it emerged cupboards and drawers in the victim’s bedroom had been searched, though nothing had been taken.
In their police statements the victim said she had been left fearful the intruders would return at night, while the granddaughter said her grandmother had been “visibly shocked and upset” by the experience.
Hall, of Bronwydd, Birchgrove , Swansea, and Francis, of Lon Gwendraeth, Morriston , had both previously pleaded guilty to burglary when they appeared in the dock via videolink for sentencing.
Hall was subject to a suspended prison sentence for shoplifting at the time of the burglary.
The court heard Hall has 46 previous convictions for 106 offences – including 64 for theft and kindred offences – while Francis has 14 previous convictions for 27 offences.
Both have previous convictions for house burglaries – in the case of Francis she had tricked her way into the home of a 78-year-old woman by asking if she could use her phone in an emergency, then stole her purse.
Andrew Evans, for Hall, said his client had “struggled with an addiction to Class A drugs for many, many years” but now hoped to turn his life around so he could be a positive presence in the lives of his children.
Stuart John, for Francis, said the defendant had been abusing both heroin and crack cocaine in the weeks before the burglary but was now motivated to address her drug addiction.
Judge Paul Thomas QC said the pair had been under the influence of drugs when they carried out the “brazen” burglary, and had no doubt been looking for items to steal in order to fund their addictions.
He said it must have been a “bewildering” experience for the victim to find the strangers in her flat.
Giving Hall a 25 per cent discount for his guilty plea the judge sentenced him to three years, and also activated two months of the previously imposed suspended sentence to run consecutively – making a total of three years and two months.
Francis received a similar discount, and was sentenced to two years and three months – her sentence was lower than her co-accused to reflect the fact she had been out of trouble for five years prior to the burglary.