Repeat victim robbed at knifepoint after raiders broke into his home while he was asleep

The case was heard at Newcastle Crown Court.
The case was heard at Newcastle Crown Court.

A householder was robbed at knifepoint and forced to hand over cash when raiders entered his home while he was sleeping.

The victim, who is 90 per cent deaf, was disturbed when two intruders broke into his home in Shotton Colliery in the early hours of June 13.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the man, who handed over more than £900 in cash when threatened with a knife, has been a targeted for crime on previous occasions.

He said in a victim impact statement: "This one was the worse one, when someone bursts into your house.

"What hurt me the most is not the money, it's the principle, I was sleeping and woke up with someone with a mask on, with a knife in their hand.

"It's not right. I am sick of it.

"They are going to win every time when they have a knife. If they came in without a knife they wouldn't, would they?"

The court heard the knifeman who brandished the blade has never been caught.

James Bridgewater, of Hawthorne Terrace, Shotton Colliery, was cleared of aggravated burglary by a jury, who accepted that he did not know his accomplice was armed.

The 25-year-old pleaded guilty to burglary and said he believed the plan that night was simply to steal red diesel from the property.

Judge Robert Adams sentenced him to 18 months' imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, with 200 hours unpaid work, £480 compensation and a one-month evening curfew.

He has spent six months being held in custody on remand.

The judge told him: "The jury were not sure you were aware of the existence of the knife prior to the theft being committed by the person with you. "

The judge said there was no evidence that Bridgewater was aware that the victim was deaf or that he was in the house at the time of the raid.

Judge Adams told him: "The man with you robbed him when he awoke. That was outside of your contemplation."

The court heard Bridgewater has the chance of work, has a supportive partner and family and has been out of trouble for years.

He has said he is "at a loss" to explain why he got involved.

Bridgewater told a probation officer: "I feel ashamed, I should never have been there. This is not like me."