‘Institutionalised’ Warwick burglar asks for longest sentence

The Warwickshire Justice Centre, where the Warwickshire Magistrates' Court is based. The couple will appear here on May 11.

The Warwickshire Justice Centre, where the Warwickshire Magistrates' Court is based. The couple will appear here on May 11.

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A “vulnerable and lonely” Warwick man broke into a pensioner’s home to commit burglary just hours after being released from prison.

Lee Pheasey, 29, pleaded guilty to charges of burglary, robbery and attempted robbery when he appeared at Warwick Crown Court.

Unusually, his barrister asked the judge to impose the longest sentence he could.

Pheasey, 29, of no fixed address but formerly of Priory Road, was given an extended sentence of five years in jail - of which he must serve at least two thirds - and remain on license for a further three years

The court heard that in August Pheasey was released on licence from a 52-month sentence given for smuggling drugs into prison back in 2012.

Prosecutor Ian Windridge said that same afternoon, he broke into a house in Cambridge Gardens in Leamington by smashing a glass back door panel.

But the retired homeowner and her sisters returned home and found him on the landing.

Pheasey demanded of one sister: “Give me what you’ve got, or I’ll hit you”. He then ran down the stairs, snatching the handbag from the homeowner as he passed her, and pushing her down several steps where she hit her head.

The court heard that she had undergone a knee operation just three months earlier, and because of the fall, now required physiotherapy.

She also said she had to give away all her jewellery because she “didn’t feel comfortable with it” in the house.

By the time he was caught using DNA evidence from the scene, Pheasey had been jailed for robbery after stealing lamb from the Co-Op in Clemens Street and threatening the manager with a dirty needle.

He made no comment when questioned about the burglary.

Ian Speed, defending, said: “He went no comment in interview, but the officer said how upset he was at the end and said he didn’t mean to hurt anyone.”

And surprisingly, Mr Speed told the judge: “I would normally be asking you to keep the sentence as short as possible, but those are not his instructions to me. In fact, he wants me to ask for the longest sentence you can impose.

“He is a lonely man who has become institutionalised.

“He will do anything to stay inside.”

Judge Richard Griffith-Jones told Pheasey: “Although you are a vulnerable man, you recognise there is a severe risk that if released in the near future you would be straight out, desperate to get money to buy heroin.

“Quite obviously these offences are so serious that only a custodial sentence can be justified.

“You poses a high risk of serious harm to the general public.”