Jail warning for Brooke burglar with Parkinson’s who burgled neighbour’s house the day after she died

Gordon Barnes. Photo: Bill Smith

Gordon Barnes. Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Archant © 2008

A 62-year-old man with Parkinson's disease has been warned he could face jail after admitting a burglary at his 92-year-old neighbour's house – the day after she died.

Gordon Barnes lived next door to the victim who died in her favourite chair in the sitting room of her home which was burgled by the defendant the very next day.

Barnes, who the prosecution say would have known his neighbour had died because of the presence of paramedics and police, smashed a window to get into her property in the early hours before stealing items, including a purse that had been in her handbag and a silver locket.

Two Second World War medals belonging to her brother which were said to be 'very dear to her' were also taken in the raid which happened on May 29 last year following her death on May 28.

A victim personal statement read on behalf of the victim's son said he felt an 'overwhelming feeling of revulsion', grief and shock at the crime.

Andrew Oliver, prosecuting, said Barnes had a similar matter recorded against him in 2010 when he committed a burglary while the victim was in hospital.

Barnes, of Churchill Place, Brooke, appeared at Norwich Crown Court to be sentenced having previously admitted burglary.

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Michael Clare, for Barnes, who he insisted should be given full credit for his guilty plea, said he was a 'seriously unwell individual with a multitude of problems' who had been drinking and taking too much medication at the time.

Mr Clare conceded the matter crossed the custody threshold but said it might be 'cruel' to subject him to a custodial regime given his situation.

Judge Anthony Bate, who said cases like this would ordinarily attract a custodial sentence, adjourned the matter until tomorrow so contact can be made with the prison authorities to see whether the defendant might be able to be managed were he to be jailed.

Have you got a crime story? Email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk

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