A BURGLAR has been jailed for six years for a break-in which turned into a terrifying robbery.
Sneak thief David Richmond was confronted by a startled householder returning from work, with the intruder claiming he had found a door open and had gone in “to help”.
Durham Crown Court was told his story did not hold together because property was found strewn across the floor.
The householder grabbed Richmond, who pulled out a claw hammer and threatened to kill him and during a struggle, both rolled down the stairs.
Despite being bitten on the back of his hand, the resident managed to keep a grip on the hammer to stop him landing a blow.
Jennifer Haigh, prosecuting, said he ushered Richmond out of the door, locked it and phoned police.
Only a 50 Euro note was taken by Richmond from the house, in Park Road South, Chester-le-Street, on March 31.
The court heard the victim’s wife was in hospital that day awaiting surgery.
Mrs Haigh said Richmond had taken the hammer and other items in another break-in at a house in Warkworth Drive in the town earlier in the day.
In that incident, the victim returned to find the house ransacked and several possessions missing, with £100 in damage caused to the property.
A neighbour gave police a description and after CCTV footage was viewed, Richmond was arrested and some items were recovered.
It emerged that 10 days earlier he also burgled a house in Darlington Road, Neville’s Cross, Durham, taking a lap-top computer, foreign currency and jewellery.
Richmond, 44, of no fixed abode, admitted robbery, two counts of burglary and asked for the Durham break-in to be considered.
The court heard he has 59 convictions for 178 offences, including nine previous house burglaries.
Ian Bradshaw, mitigating, said Richmond had no permanent address and was living “an itinerant lifestyle” following his release from a previous prison sentence earlier this year.