Knife raider fled as old woman reached for walking stick

PRISON TERM: Tracy Ann Yorke, who has been jailed for five years for an aggravated burglary where she pointed a knife at a 77-year-old woman.
PRISON TERM: Tracy Ann Yorke, who has been jailed for five years for an aggravated burglary where she pointed a knife at a 77-year-old woman.
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A woman stormed a pensioner’s home as she watched TV and threatened her with a knife during a terrifying raid.

Tracy Ann Yorke, pictured, walked straight through the front door of the 77-year-old’s Dawdon home and into the living room where she was watching TV.

Terrified, the pensioner, who thought it was a man with his face covered by a scarf, demanded to know what the intruder wanted.

Yesterday, Durham Crown Court heard Yorke, 25, pulled out the blade and pointed to the purse on a table.

Graeme Gaston, prosecuting, said: “She told the defendant ‘you’re not having it’ and then got up to get her stick and at that point the defendant left.

“She was obviously very upset, crying, and telephoned her granddaughter, who then contacted police.”

Inquiries took detectives to the house of Tracy Ann Yorke, who lives in nearby Wynyard Street.

Mr Gaston said a search of the house led to the discovery of four-inch knife wrapped in a scarf found beneath the bed of Yorke’s son.

She claimed she knew nothing of the clothing and said the knife had been there for protection.

She continued to deny any involvement in the attack, which happened on Sunday, August 5.

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She only admitted to being behind the raid when she appeared in court charged with aggravated burglary.

The court heard Yorke was serving a 12 month conditional discharge imposed in May for shoplifting and was on bail following an allegation of another theft when she stormed the woman’s home.

Lorraine Mustard, mitigation, said when she spoke to Yorke about the incident, she claimed a man had pressed her to take the purse on his behalf.

Ms Mustard said: “She is exceptionally sorry for what she has done.

“She is vulnerable, somebody who has had mental health problems and she’s not in the hospital wing, but has been out of it for a couple of weeks and is on fresh medication and it’s reported she has improved.

“As far as the voices are concerned, they have returned.”

Recorder Ray Singh sentenced Yorke to five years behind bars.

He said: “You maintained your innocence and you tried to put forward some kind of alibi at that stage, but to your credit when you appeared before court on the first occasion you indicated a guilty plea.

“You got in to the victim’s home, violence was threatened towards her, you pointed the knife.”

He said he would take no action for the breach of conditional discharge or the fact the incident happened while she was on bail.

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham