A WOMAN who came home from visiting her terminally ill partner was devastated to find her home had been burgled and ransacked by a close friend’s boyfriend.
And investigations revealed culprit Gavin Roberts (pictured) had actually raided her home three times while she had been away, by using a spare key which had been given to his partner.
He was caught red-handed after returning to the premises for a fourth time and breaking into her garage and stealing property including hedge trimmers. Liverpool Crown Court heard that callous Roberts had even taken items which had been alongside pictures of his own children.
Drug addict Roberts stole a key given to his girlfriend Alison Taylor and replaced it with another one to enable him to get into 58-year-old Gillian Burton’s home in Old Hall Drive, Ashton.
He entered while Mrs Burton was staying overnight at hospital with her sick partner Richard Topping, said Peter Barr, prosecuting.
On August 8 this year Mrs Burton discovered her home had been burgled and ransacked and property including three large flat screen TVs, electronic equipment, £300 cash, ornaments and
jewellery, some of great sentimental value, had been stolen.
She called the police and went back to the hospital and the officers left an hour later, securing the premises.
But within the hour, a neighbour spotted someone acting suspiciously and the police returned and caught Roberts with a pair of hedge trimmers, pressure washer and other property he had stolen from the garage at the house.
Mrs Burton later spoke of her distress at her home being burgled and “trashed” and said that she and Mr Topping are now too scared to leave the premises unattended. Their passports and disability rail pass had also been taken.
“Not only has he taken property but our means of travelling and access. It is has turned my life upside down,” she explained.
When interviewed 37-year-old Roberts admitted the burglaries and said he had been desperate for cash.
The first time he broke in he took some alcohol which he sold for £10 and later returned and stole jewellery which he pawned and both times spent the proceeds on drugs.
He said word got around and two men offered him drugs to take them there to steal more property and he helped them load their vehicle with the televisions and other property. They gave him £40 which also went on drugs.
Roberts, of Linden Avenue, Bryn, pleaded guilty to four burglaries between August 6 and 8, which altogether involved property worth about £4,700. The court heard he has previous convictions including burglary and drug offences.
Jailing him for 32 months Judge Graham Morrow, QC, said: “This was a mean and despicable series of offences. Items of sentimental value were taken and I’m not surprised at the reaction of Gillian Burton set out in her statement.
“You preyed of her misfortune at a time when she was struggling to cope with bereavement and the terminal illness of her partner.
“She not only had to deal with the theft of items including those of sentimental value but the ransacking of her home.”
The court heard that Roberts, who spent much of the hearing with his head on the dock rail, was remorseful and embarrassed and wished to apologise.