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Judge to assess 'dangerousness' of knife-wielding burglar who attacked couple in their 70s

PUBLISHED: 12:03 02 April 2019 | UPDATED: 12:32 02 April 2019

Beach Road, Snettisham, where the aggravated burglary took place. Picture: Conor Matchett

Beach Road, Snettisham, where the aggravated burglary took place. Picture: Conor Matchett

Archant

A knife-wielding attacker burst into a house in a seaside village and threatened a couple in their 70s, a court heard.

Daniel Gillett, 33, was one of two armed men who raided the Snettisham home and demanded money from the couple, Norwich Crown Court was told.

As previously reported, the male victim fought off an attacker with a carving knife and they fled empty-handed from the Beach Road house on February 15.

At court on Tuesday, Gillett admitted aggravated burglary and had his case adjourned so his “dangerousness” could be assessed.

The court heard both householders were assaulted during the incident; the man suffered a knife injury to his face while the woman was hit to the ground suffering a minor injury.

Both required treatment at hospital but have since been discharged.

Gillett, of Queensway, Didcot, admitted aggravated burglary while in possession of a knife.

The attacker, who was represented in court by Will Carter, pleaded not guilty to two other counts of attempted burglary and making a threat to kill. Both charges will lie on file.

The court heard that Gillett had gone to the property to look for the son of the elderly occupants and “steal from him”.

Mr Carter said the victims’ son had “fallen foul of the group who went to the address”.

Judge Anthony Bate was told Gillett had “quite extensive previous convictions” which came from an individual with an addiction to class A drugs.

Danielle O’Donovan, prosecuting, said the pleas were acceptable to the Crown.

But she said the prosecution wanted more time in the case to seek statements from the victims of the aggravated burglary.

Judge Bate adjourned sentencing until May 2 so that a pre-sentence report which addressed “the issue of dangerousness” could be carried out.

Gillett, who wore a stripy blue and white short-sleeved shirt, was remanded in custody until the sentencing hearing in May.

How couple fought back against attacker

At first, Gillett’s victims thought it was all a prank.

But the couple, who are aged in their 70s and do not wish to be named, needed hospital treatment for hand and head injuries after the break-in.

The husband said: “He walked towards me saying ‘give me money, give me money’ and I said you are getting nothing. He carried on walking towards me.”

When the man shouted to his wife to call the police, the robber turned around, and gave him the chance to pick up a carving knife and fork from the kitchen.

According to the victim, the robber then made a sudden move towards his wife who fell and hit her head.

The victim added the attacker threw plant pots at them before he thrust at him with the knife, caught him in the stomach and the man fled.

“We were very lucky,” he said. “I am pleased I did it. He has come to invade our privacy, threaten our lives, he should have quite a large portion of his life taken away.”

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