Lambrini burglar caught after leaving blood in neighbour’s home

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Court story
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A MAN who burgled his neighbour’s flat after downing six bottles of wine has been given a chance to stay out of jail.

Gary Purcell stole more than £1,000 of property and vandalised rooms in the woman’s home at Trafalgar Road in Sulgrave, Washington, in July – but has no memory of it.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the 29-year-old had broken in through the kitchen window.

Prosecutor Caroline McGurk told the court: “In addition to items he stole, he also vandalised property, smashed portraits, one in the hallway, leaving glass all over.

“There was bloodstains on the hall floor and walls.

“He smashed the bathroom window, leaving bloodstains in the bathroom.”

The court heard some of the stolen property was recovered but the householder was left £2,670 out of pocket.

Purcell, who lived in the flat above, was arrested after his DNA was recovered from the blood at the scene.

He pleaded guilty to burglary.

Glen Gatland, defending, said Purcell was going through personal problems and had drank six bottles of Lambrini.

Mr Gatland said: “He just cannot understand why he did it.

“Until the police came to him, he was unaware of any involvement in this.”

Mr Gatland said Purcell had been puzzled when he woke up and found jewellery and a plant pot in his home.

Mr Gatland said Purcell asked the police to apologise to the victim on his behalf when he realised what he had done.

Some of the stolen property was never recovered and the court heard it is possible someone else broke into the flat before or after Purcell.

Judge Brian Forster QC adjourned sentence for six months.

The judge said: “If he keeps out of trouble and saves some compensation, I may be able to suspend the sentence.

“If he blows the opportunity, he’s the one choosing to go to prison.”