A COVENTRY mother was terrified when she realised there were intruders downstairs in the middle of the night while she was at home alone with her three young children.
She shut herself in a bedroom – and when she looked out of the window she saw her dog had been let out into the street and her Ford Fiesta was being driven away.
CCTV cameras picked up the car and followed it until it crashed and the three occupants fled, but the police found two of them, Kallum Kavanagh and Reegan Richings, hiding nearby.
Both men denied taking part in the burglary and stealing the car – but were convicted by a jury at Warwick Crown Court.
Richings (20) a ‘three strikes’ burglar, of no fixed address, was jailed for three-and-a-half years, and Kavanagh (20) of Dunlop Avenue, Tile Hill, Coventry, for two years eight months.
Prosecutor Andrew Wilkins said that in December last year a woman was alone with her three children at her home in Earlsdon Avenue North, Earlsdon, while her partner was working away.
When she woke at three in the morning to give her five-week-old daughter a feed, she heard her dog bark and realised there was someone in the house.
Understandably scared, she shut herself in the front bedroom, from where she looked out of the window and saw the dog had been let out into the street.
She then saw her car, which had been parked in the road just up from the house, being driven away with two men in it, so immediately called the police.
She then went down to get the dog, and saw that an i-Pod and two sets of car keys, to her Fiesta and to her partner’s Audi A4, which had a flat battery, had been stolen.
Mr Wilkins said CCTV cameras picked up the Fiesta and followed it along Queensland Avenue and Four Pounds Avenue to where it crashed and the three occupants got out and made off.
The police were already on their way, and Kavanagh and Richings were found nearby, one of them hiding in a garden, after a police dog had been brought to the scene.
Both men denied being involved, with Kavanagh claiming he had been picked up by Richings and the third man, who got away, just a few moments before the car crashed.
But Mr Wilkins argued: “Who could have been involved in the burglary and the taking of the vehicle other than those who were in it when it was seen very shortly thereafter?”
Following the guilty verdicts, Ian Speed, for Kavanagh, said his offending had started after being taken into care as a youngster.
And he will have a further 15 months to serve if he is recalled to serve the rest of a 40-month sentence for wounding with intent, which he was on licence from at the time.
Ian Windridge, for Richings, said he had also been placed into care at a relatively young age – and has already served one mandatory sentence as a third-strike burglar when he was 18.
But he observed: “He is going to be moved very soon from a youth prison to an adult prison, and he’s going to see how the big boys have to cope in a custodial environment, which is going to hit him hard.”
Sentencing the two, Judge Anthony Potter said of their victim: “She was a young woman on her own because her partner was away at the time.
“Even worse, she did not have one or two children in the house, she had three – and she had enough problems waking up at three in the morning to fed her five-week-old daughter, without having to deal with you coming and burgling her property.
“Richings, you have already reached the stage where a second minimum term for dwelling house burglary applies.
“You Kavanagh do not have the same record for burglary, but you have convictions for six offences of dishonest, including one for robbery, and at the time you were on licence.”