A woman given just nine months to live was left devastated after a thief broke into her Warwick home and stole her wedding ring.
To add to her distress, burglar, Ian Brook left his blood all over her jewellery box in the bedroom she shared with her partner, a judge has heard.
Blood was found on her jewellery box from where her wedding ring was takenJudge Andrew Lockhart QC
Brook, 50 of Torcross Avenue in Coventry, was jailed for two years after pleading guilty to charges of burglary and attempted burglary at Warwick Crown Court.
Andrew Tucker, prosecuting, said the burglary took place at the Basant Close home of the distraught couple in November last year.
Mr Tucker told the court: “The great sadness of the case is that at the time he burgled their home she knew she only had about nine months left to live because of a serious heart condition.
“Of course Mr Brook did not know that, but by his actions he ran the risk that he would cause upset to someone at a vulnerable stage in their life.”
The court heard how Brook and others had travelled to Warwick by car and were seen acting suspiciously, ‘scouting the area’ that afternoon.
They forced their way into the house by smashing a kitchen window and ransacking the inside, before escaping with jewellery including the wedding ring, a laptop computer and electrical items.
The victim later reported feeling unsafe in her home, and wanting to move.
Brook was caught following a second break-in in Leamington three weeks later where he and another man were disturbed by a burglar alarm.
The pair fled in his car empty handed, but Brook handed himself in six days later but claiming that he had lent his car out and had nothing to do with the burglaries. His DNA was matched with the blood found on the jewellery box.
Brook has 24 previous convictions for a total of 62 offences including burglary, but his last offence was in 2009.
David Jackson, defending, said: “What puzzled me is why after 25 years this man should resort to committing an offence of this sort.
“His successful business which he ran for many years came to a dramatic end. It caused him and his partner financial ruin and he resorted to binge drinking, as much as a bottle of spirits a day.
“Having lost the business, he is now reliant on state benefits. When he was approached by two people to become involved, he succumbed to the temptation.”
Judge Andrew Lockhart QC said: “Blood was found on her jewellery box from where her wedding ring was taken.”
Rejecting a plea for a suspended sentence, he told Brook:“She was suffering from a serious medical condition. You were not to know that, but that’s the risk you run when you go into someone’s home.
“She has suffered severe trauma; and you bled in her house onto the jewellery box where her wedding band was stored. That would be distressing for anyone.”