Bungling Sunderland burglar threw vacuum cleaner at police officer in getaway bid

Julia Walmsley and John Colefax, above, were jailed on Thursday at Newcastle Crown Court, below.
Julia Walmsley and John Colefax, above, were jailed on Thursday at Newcastle Crown Court, below.

A couple who raided a pensioner's home while she was asleep upstairs have been put behind bars.

John Colefax and Julia Walmsley caused more than £1,000 of damage when they smashed their way into the 76-year-old's house in Houghton through a patio door in June.

Newastle Crown Court heard the pensioner had been disturbed by an early morning noise and was met by a police officer on her stairs when she went to investigate.

The constable advised the victim to go back upstairs so she did not encounter the raiders.

Colefax and Walmsley had been caught red handed inside the house after a neighbour saw them breaking in and reported them.

The pair initially managed to get away after Colefax threw a vacuum cleaner he was about to take at a police woman before they were arrested nearby.

In a victim impact statement, the pensioner said: "I was shaken when I first saw the police officer and didn't know what was going on.

"When I was allowed to look in the kitchen I got upset, I started to shake.

"I feel angry and frightened at the thought of this."

Colefax, 42, of Central Buildings, Shiney Row, and Walmsley, 27, of Wright Terrace, Shiney Row, both admitted burglary.

Mr Recorder William Lowe jailed Colefax, who has a long criminal record which includes convictions for previous house raids, for two years and five months.

The judge jailed Walmsley, who is not as heavily convicted but has one previous conviction for burglary, for 15 months.

Jamie Adams, defending, said Colefax has a long standing drug problem, feels remorse and "desperately wants to change his lifestyle".

John Wilklinson, defending Walmsley, said the mum led a "blameless life" until the age of 22, when her mother died and she "turned to drugs".

Defence barristers said both defendants are making efforts to improve their lives in custody and plan to stay away from trouble in future.