Sunderland burglar caught after she left her blood at scene of crime

Sara Copeland
Sara Copeland

A female burglar who left her blood at the scene of the crime has been jailed.

Sara Copeland, and an unknown man, broke into a flat at Holly Court in Sunderland, after she attended a party with the victim in July last year.

Dylan Barnes

Dylan Barnes

Elizabeth Muir, prosecuting, told Newcastle Crown Court how the 34-year-old and her accomplice, helped themselves to a number of items inside a lockable cupboard.

These included a handbag, a purse which contained £80 in cash, toiletries and paperwork.

Ms Muir told the court how Copeland and Dylan Barnes, who was charged with handling stolen goods, were arrested following a phone call from a member of the public.

The concerned woman contacted officers after Barnes asked one of her friends for his t-shirt as he had been stabbed.

Copeland, 33, was found with the stolen handbag and bag of toiletries.

Barnes, 37, was found to have an Audi car key in his pocket and police discovered an Audi vehicle which the key fitted.

Inside the Audi was another leopard print handbag, identified by the victim as being taken from the lockable cupboard in her house as well as paperwork in her name.

Ms Muir said: "There was a red stain on the wall next to the lockable cupboard, found to be a DNA profile match to Miss Copeland."

Copeland, of Front Street, Sunderland, pleaded guilty to burglary on the basis that she was walking past the victim's house and the unknown male suggested breaking the window.

She claims she could not open the lockable cupboard and the male forced it open and took the items.

Barnes, of Ainsworth Street, Sunderland, admitted handling stolen goods.

Matthew Crowe, defending Copeland, told the court: "She's a somewhat troubled individual.

"Ms Copeland did used to work for the Royal Bank of Scotland. She had two young children and a steady job."

Mr Crowe said the break down of her relationship with her partner led to her getting in with the wrong crowd.

He said in 2016 she was rushed to hospital with another male after taking a drugs overdose and the male died.

Mr Crowe said: "She's lost two fingers on her right hand through intravenous drug use."

He said she then got a blood infection - sepsis - which has had a profound effect on her life.

Christopher Morrison, defending Barnes, told Judge Edward Bindloss that Barnes had used his time on remand in prison well.

He said: "He's put good use to his time learning how to brick lay, learning how to tile, effectively learning how to plaster."

Judge Bindloss said: "I accept it was not high value items taken. Thankfully, most of them were recovered and returned to (victim)."

Judge Bindloss sentenced Copeland to six months in prison.

He sentenced Barnes to five months in prison, however the time he has spent in custody meant he was realised straight away.