A TERRIFIED teenager locked herself in the bathroom as two burglars ransacked her parents’ home near Rugby and escaped with jewellery, a treasured watch and a purse.
But one of the intruders was caught thanks to a woman who earlier spotted he and his accomplice acting suspiciously near her home.
And when police stopped Ricky Allen in Derby, they found the purse from the burgled house in his car.
Allen denied having anything to do with the burglary at the house in Dunchurch, claiming he had only bought the car the previous day and did not know about the purse.
But a jury at Warwick Crown Court took just 90 minutes to reject his alibi and find him guilty.
Allen, 38, a ‘third strike’ burglar, of Thurrows Way, Derby, was jailed for four-and-a-half years.
Prosecutor Amy Jackson said a woman saw two men acting suspiciously near her home near Rugby on April 5 last year.
They left when challenged by the woman, who took down the registration plate of their car and reported them to the police.
Police were able to link the car to the burglary of a house in Dunchurch later that afternoon.
After ringing the doorbell and getting no reply, they got into the house through the kitchen at the rear – unaware that they had been seen by a 15-year-old girl who was alone in the house.
The terrified girl locked herself in the bathroom and heard the intruders searching the house, turning out drawers in the bedrooms and even trying the bathroom door.
They escaped with jewellery, a fob watch which had been owned by the householder’s late father, and a purse with cards and cash in it.
The girl had seen the car in which they arrived, and police linked the two sightings.
Allen was stopped driving the car in Derby a few days later, and the purse from the burgled house was found in the door pocket, said Miss Jackson.
But Allen claimed in court he had only bought the car the day before, and had not noticed the purse.
And he claimed he would have been at home on the day of the burglary, apart from going to the Job Centre, which he usually did on a Tuesday.
After the jury returned its verdict, Miss Jackson said that Allen had a number of previous convictions, including three for domestic burglary and others for non-dwelling burglaries.
Elizabeth Evans, defending, said: “While he denies his involvement in this offence, he knows he falls to be sentenced as a third-strike burglar.”
She said that Allen had a long-term addiction to cocaine, and had been dealing with that while on remand.
Jailing Allen, Recorder Christopher Tickle told him: “You have been convicted on what seems to me to be the clearest and plainest evidence.
“There was a significant loss, both in terms of cash and the sentimental value of the fob watch.
“Unknown to you, a 15-year-old girl was at home and saw you arrive.
“One can only speculate on how scared she was, and she is now scared of being home alone.”
After passing sentence, Recorder Tickle said he was impressed by the actions of the woman who had taken the car number, and asked for his compliments to be passed to her.