Man burgled home of woman, 75, a month after prison release

PUBLISHED: 05:06 08 October 2020

Robert Francis. Picture: NORFOLK CONSTABULARY

Robert Francis. Picture: NORFOLK CONSTABULARY


A man with 21 convictions for house burglaries targeted the home of a 75-year-old woman - a month after being released from prison with £47 to his name.

Robert Francis, 52, broke into the home on Leeder Hill, Postwick, and took about £3,000-worth of property, including jewellery, a watch and a coin collection.

Norwich Crown Court heard the burglary, which happened during the day while the victim was out on August 25 this year, came after Francis had been released from a previous sentence.

In July Francis was released on licence at the half-way point of a six years and nine months jail term which had been imposed in February 2017 for conspiracy to burgle.

Francis, who has 21 previous offences recorded against him, had been released with a discharge grant of £47 but found himself homeless and with nowhere to go.

The court was told that “one thing sadly led to another and he returned to a familiar pattern of offending”.

Francis, previously of Holme House Prison, Stockton-on-Tees, appeared at court via videolink on Wednesday, October 7 having previously admitted burglary on August 25 this year. He admitted a separate offence of possession of cannabis on September 8.

Sentencing Francis to a total of three years imprisonment, Judge Andrew Shaw said this was “a sad case in so many ways”. He said: “It seems to me quite simply that you have become institutionalised”.

Judge Shaw added: “You have just spent so long now, so much of your adult life in prison that you just seem to me to be ill-equipped to cope on the outside.”

He said the offence had been aggravated by the fact there was an elderly victim, Francis’s previous offending, and the fact he had been released on licence just a month before the burglary took place.

Andrew Oliver, mitigating, said he conceded the defendant’s previous convictions and the fact the offence was committed so soon after his release on licence were aggravating features.

He said that the defendant admitted he had “done very poorly on his release having offended so quickly”.

Mr Oliver added that Francis had found himself in an “interminable cycle of re-offending” and stated his strongest mitigation was his guilty plea.

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