Teenager locked up for breaking into house where girl lay in her coffin

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A TEENAGER who broke into a home where a five-year-old cancer victim lay in her coffin has been locked up.

The youth, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was given a four-month detention and training order at Sunderland Youth Court.

His mother sobbed as the 16-year-old was led from the courtroom in handcuffs by three security officers.

Magistrates heard how the teenager was caught by the young girl’s distraught parents hiding in her bedroom, where her small coffin had been placed.

Prosecutor Paul Doney said the teenager knew the family were out when he broke into the house on March 11.

But the girl’s mother returned home shortly before 1pm and realised there was someone there. She found a window of a downstairs bedroom had been broken and alerted her partner and uncle, who discovered the teenager hiding upstairs.

The youth admitted burglary, denying he had taken anything, though items in the young girl’s bedroom had been moved.

A statement from her mother was read out to the court branding the teen “sick”.

She added: “I was terrified. I was shook up with so many thoughts going through my head that I did not know who they were and what they wanted.

“My main concern was for my daughter. It was the most horrific position I had been in, that what I thought was a family friend would do this.”

Defending, David Sherwood-Smith said: “The aggravating features surrounding this matter are all too plainly obvious. I don’t seek to minimise the effect on the family.”

He added: “The defendant is a young man who has a great deal of difficulty dealing with his emotions. When I have spoken to him, other than to express his remorse, he is unable to comment as to what he has done.”

Chairman Jean Brown told the shaking teenager that only a custodial sentence was appropriate.

She said: “The distress you caused that bereaved family is beyond belief.”

Speaking after the hearing, the girl’s grandmother said: “We’re over the moon, but it isn’t long enough.”