Serial Sunderland burglar behind bars after DNA found on hat he dropped during violent break-in at family home
A serial burglar who attacked a householder is behind bars after his DNA was found on a hat he dropped during the violent struggle.
William Trotter, 37, was standing behind the door of the family home he had just ransacked and attacked when the husband, wife and two-year-old child returned unexpectedly.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the victim suffered scratches to his leg, bruising to his eye and was left afraid the raider might return to hurt his family.
He told police he felt "violated" and added: "I keep thinking what would have happened to my wife and child if I wasn't with them".
Trotter had pocketed precious jewellery worth £5,000, including a wedding ring, as well as £1,000 during the raid, which was never recovered.
Prosecutor Mark Guiliani told the court the family had returned home to River View, Sunderland, at lunchtime on October 25 last year and realised their front door had been forced open.
Mr Guiliani said: "When the complainant opened his door the defendant was standing on the other side.
"He was holding a green holdall, which he dropped.
"The complainant held the door, attempting to stop the defendant leaving.
"He made good his escape and pushed the homeowner out of the way and hit him to the face.
"A struggle occurred between the two men, during which the defendant dropped his cream coloured thermal hat, which was left on the landing as the defendant made good his escape."
The court police found documents belonging to an occupant of another flat in the block, where Trotter had burgled shortly before the violent raid, inside the green holdall.
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His DNA was recovered from the hat he had dropped during the struggle.
Trotter, of East Vines, Sunderland, who has convictions for 92 previous offences, admitted two charges of burglary and one of common assault.
He also admitted raids at two commercial premises in the city.
The court heard in December Trotter smashed his way into Pizza Hut at St Luke's Terrace and was caught on CCTV taking a till and its contents.Mr Guiliani said: "He was seen to re-enter, attempting to mop up the blood at the point of entry. He took a bottle of Pepsi and poured it on the floor in an attempt to remove the evidence. He then left.
"Blood samples, however, were able to be obtained and a profile of the blood samples matched defendant's DNA profile."
The court heard just two days before Christmas, Trotter and an accomplice broke into Estrella hair salon on Foyle Street and took property including presents that had been left for staff from their customers.
He caused damage at both shops.
Trotter asked for three further raids at commercial premises, all between October and December, to be taken into consideration by the judge.
Judge Edward Bindloss sentenced Trotter to four years and one month behind bars.
The judge told him: "You went on a burglary spree."
Jennifer Coxon, defending, said Trotter, who has an addiction to drugs, including Spice, has very little recollection of the offences.
Miss Coxon added: "Mr Trotter fully appreciates how upsetting all of these burglaries will be to every single victim.
"He is deeply regretful for the incident in relation to the complainant being assaulted inside his own home."