A CAREER criminal who threatened to kill an 81-year-old disabled widow after breaking into her home in the middle of the night has been jailed for 12 years.
Johnathan Lee, 44, snatched cash and sentimental jewellery from terrified Mary Parish after warning he would “slit her throat” if she did not stop crying.
Lee, who has 28 other aliases, eventually fled with an engagement ring and gold bracelet bought by Mrs Parish’s late husband together with cash and other jewellery bought by her daughter after posing as a police officer to try and confuse the pensioner.
Lincoln Crown Court this week heard Lee carried out the robbery at Mrs Parish’s warden-controlled bungalow in Lyndhurst Road, Skegness, just four months after targeting another lone pensioner in his native Lancashire.
On that occasion Lee forced 74-year-old Daniel Yates to hand over a wallet containing £100 in cash which he kept under his pillow after entering the bedroom of his home in Union Road, Oswoldtwistle.
Mr Yates who was asleep in bed when he heard a loud bang was so frightened by the experience that he refused to open the door to a police officer after ringing 999 when Lee finally left, the court was told.
Michael Cranmer-Brown, prosecuting, told the court both of Lee’s victims had been traumatised by the ordeals after he gained entry by smashing his way in through kitchen windows, with Mrs Parish unable to return to her home of “many years.”
Mr Cranmer-Brown said before Lee left Mrs Parish’s home he warned her “don’t move, because if you ring the police I’ll kill you.” Lee then handed the stolen property to his girlfriend Karen O’Leary, 44, who was acting as a lookout and waiting outside.
Police found O’Leary nearby with the jewellery bulging under her clothing. Lee, who was living in a caravan on nearby Burgh Road, told police he was a traveller and had only nipped out to an all night garage.
The court heard Lee was jailed for eight years in 2003 for similar offences against five elderly victims including robberies in Bury and Blackburn.
Gorden Aspden, defending, admitted Lee had a bad record but told the court only a small amount of force had been used in his latest offences.
Robert Underwood, for O’Leary, said she had been going out with Lee for three months and was worse for drink when she was exploited as a “lookout” for the Skegness robbery.
Lee of Burgh Road, Skegness, admitted the two robberies on 21 April and 24 July last year. O’Leary of Walmsley Road, Church, Accrington, was also jailed for 14 months after she pleaded guilty to a single charge of burglary.
Passing sentence Judge Michael Heath told Lee: “It is quite plain to me you targeted both of these elderly victims.
“Elderly people have to be protected from people like you who target and frighten them in their own homes as you did.”
Jailing O’Leary Judge Heath added: “In agreeing to act as a lookout you took the risk the property may be occupied.”