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Night raider terrorised sleeping Wigan pensioner

Christopher McCormick during his rooftop standoff
Christopher McCormick during his rooftop standoff

A Wigan pensioner has spoken of the moment he was woken in the middle of the night by a burglar in his house.


Ninety-one-year-old John Lees had been asleep in bed when Christopher McCormick disturbed him and shone a light into his eyes.

He had already rummaged through the drawers at the house in Pemberton, where Mr Lees lives alone after his wife moved into a care home, and stole a credit card, cash and other items.

McCormick is now behind bars for nine years after admitting the burglary, as well as a string of other offences.

Grandfather-of-five Mr Lees, of Sherwood Drive, said: “I was in bed between 11pm and 1am and I suddenly heard someone on the landing. I thought, ‘who can that be?’. I said ‘hello’ and nobody answered.

“The door opened and a light was shone in my eyes, like a laser light, nearly blinding me. I said, ‘hello, who are you?’ and he didn’t answer, it was just a grunt.

“I had my stick by the side of my bed. I grabbed my stick and said ‘I will soon find out who you are’. He went down the stairs and went out of a side door.”

McCormick stole Mr Lees’ credit card, passports belonging to him and his wife, a few pounds and some trinkets.

Mr Lees later received a phone call from his bank to say someone had been caught on camera in Asda and McDonald’s using his credit card.

Fortunately he was not hurt during the burglary on October 16, but the passports have not been returned.

He said: “I was more angry than anything. I was half asleep and someone had the audacity to come into my bedroom and shine a light in my eyes.

“I was intent on getting out and grabbing him or hitting him with the stick. That was my intention.”

It was not the first time Mr Lees had encountered McCormick, as he gave evidence in court after seeing him steal from a builder more than 20 years ago.

But he could not see him during the burglary due to the light in his eyes.

McCormick, 42, of Tunstall Lane, Pemberton, has now been jailed for a total of nine years at Bolton Crown Court after pleading guilty to a series of offences at earlier court hearings.
Mr Lees welcomed the sentence, saying: “Thank goodness he is off the streets.”

McCormick admitted stealing cash and bank cards in a robbery on October 25, as well as having a knife in a public place.

He stole meat and a charity box containing £4 in a burglary at John Mather Butcher’s shop, in Pemberton, on October 14.

He admitted carrying out the burglary at Mr Lees’ home as well as burglaries at properties on Pine View, Winstanley, on October 20; Brindley Street, Pemberton, on November 26; and Tunstall Lane on November 20.

Among the items reported to have been stolen were bank cards, passports, handbags and cash.

He also admitted four counts of fraud, relating to the use of bank cards belonging to four people - including Mr Lees - in October and November.

McCormick also pleaded guilty to affray after an incident on the roof of a building on Tunstall Lane on December 2.