22nd Oct, 2017

Cerebral Palsy sufferer terrified in her home by hallucinating burglar 'foaming at mouth'

Les Reid 3rd Jul, 2015 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

A CEREBRAL Palsy sufferer was terrified when a man high on cocaine and booze and ‘foaming at the mouth’ smashed into her flat at night.

A judge at Warwick Crown Court heard the victim was feeling particularly vulnerable because her partner of 40 years had died of cancer just two weeks earlier.

Intruder Steven Cater (33) of Lyndale Road, Whoberley, Coventry, was jailed for four years after pleading guilty to charges of burglary, affray and causing damage.

Prosecutor Graeme Simpson said the burglary took place in the early hours of June 2 at a flat in Middleborough Road, Coventry.

The victim has hearing problems and difficulty with mobility, using a walking frame to move around the flat.

She was sleeping on the living room sofa when she was woken by a banging on her front door at 1.20am.

She could not see anyone by the time she managed to get up and look outside.

But after returning to the sofa there was more banging and the door burst open.

She described Cater as being like ‘a mad man,’ foaming at the mouth and shouting that he was scared.

She was terrified that she was going to be killed.

Cater, who was holding a broken mobile phone, demanded her phone, but she said she did not have one.

As he charged round the flat saying she was dead, he knocked things over including her walking frame, leaving her unable to move around.

After around 20 minutes, he left. When the police arrived they found he had also damaged the doors of two other flats.

He told police he could not remember anything about it because of the ‘stupid amount’ of cocaine and alcohol he had consumed at another flat in the block over the past three days.

Mr Simpson added Cater had no convictions until last year when he was given a short suspended sentence for assaulting two police officers.

Ian Speed, defending, who conceded custody was inevitable, said: “He was off his head hallucinating.  He knows the answer to this; he’s got to stop taking cocaine and alcohol.

“He is totally and utterly ashamed of what he’s done. His mother and his auntie are at court.  His mother is so distressed about what happened because the victim is a family friend.

“She still doesn’t know it was Mr Cater who burgled her, because she didn’t recognise him.  It’s his mother’s intention to go to see her and tell her after the case.”

Judge Sylvia de Bertodano told Cater: “That lady suffers from cerebral palsy and is disabled in a number of ways.  She had recently lost her partner of 40 years to cancer, so she was unused to sleeping alone.

“I know you know how serious this is, because I have read a letter you have written to me.

“Of course you didn’t know the state of this lady, because you were in no condition to know, and you have expressed a wish to apologise to her.”

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