Burglar gets three years after targeting mental health housing complex
PUBLISHED: 08:57 28 June 2019 | UPDATED: 08:57 28 June 2019
A woman who committed a spate of burglaries across Norwich - including at the housing complex she had been evicted from - has been jailed for three years.
Emmanuella Elcock broke into homes, often as the owners slept, to steal bank cards and valuables to fund her drug habit, Norwich Crown Court heard on Thursday.
In all five homes were targeted, including two residents at a supported housing block for people with mental health issues.
They had been former friends of Elcock's, but she had been evicted from Vangate Court in September 2018.
Around 1.30am a man living at Orchard Street heard a "loud bang".
He thought nothing more of it but when he woke in the morning he found his door was open and a rucksack was missing.
It had been discarded outside but a £2,000 laptop, debit card and a £5 note were taken.
The laptop was later found in a bin nearby, and police found Elcock's fingerprints on it.
On 13 October at Paragon Place a man woke around 4.40am to find Elcock trying to get out of his front door.
"She told him she had mental health issues, was homeless and wanted to put her head down for the night," said John Morgans, prosecuting.
"He felt sorry for her and wasn't minded to call the police."
He later realised a pair of tracksuit bottoms were missing and that Elcock had been wearing them when she left.
The victim said he wasn't put in fear but now finds himself wary when it is dark.
Less than an hour later that night a couple were sleeping at their ground floor flat in West Pottergate with their six week old daughter.
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The man was woken around 5.25am to find their dog barking and lights on in the house.
Outside the house a man was heard saying to a woman 'be quiet, there is a child in the house'.
"He challenged them about breaking into his property and as they made off he called police," said Mr Morgans.
Two people were arrested nearby but police found no links between them and the burglary. Elcock's fingerprints were found on the bathroom wall, and a gold DKNY watch was missing.
The final two burglaries were at Vanguard Court.
On 12 November one resident found his room had been broken into and a bank card stolen.
Elcock had also logged onto his computer, set up a £1,000 overdraft and transferred £500 to her own account.
On February 12 this year another resident was targeted while he was asleep. A cash box had been opened and a bank card stolen.
Elcock pleaded guilty to each burglary.
Andrew Oliver, mitigating, said at the time she was using heroin and crack.
"She was feeling anxious and confused, sleeping rough," he said.
"She has a serious mental disorder of schizophrenia in the background, which does not excuse this behaviour.
"She has left fingerprints left, right and centre, and these are hardly sophisticated. This was a lady really out of control by virtue of her addiction to drugs."
He added she is now clean and is undertaking education in prison.
Judge Andrew Shaw told Elcock: "It really upsets people having strangers in their homes, invading their space and their privacy.
"It makes people feel insecure and unsafe in the one place in the world they are entitled to feel safe."