A SERIAL burglar who left a child terrified to be in her own home has been jailed for five and a half years.
The nine-year-old girl was asleep in her bed when burglar Anthony Holtom, 35, crept into her bedroom and stole her clothes and toys.
She is now so scared that she won’t even go to the toilet alone and she sleeps with her parents in their bed.
Prosecuting, Sue Jacobs told Teesside Crown Court the youngster fears there will be another intruder in the family home in Hartlepool.
Holtom, and an accomplice who has not been caught, stole 33 items including a 42-inch TV from the house in Winterbottom Avenue, Hartlepool, in the early hours of September 11.
The girl’s parents said in victim impact statements read to the court that they were devastated because they were hardworking, but they could not afford to replace much of the property.
Her father said that she was aware the burglar had gone into her bedroom while she was asleep and she had become very nervous and scared inside the house.
He added: “We even have to take her to the toilet as she is scared.
“She has taken to sleeping in our bed because she is scared that someone comes into our house again.”
His wife had gone to bed leaving the back door unlocked and the TV playing for when he returned from work at 2.30am, but he discovered that they had been burgled.
Holtom turned up with the loot at 3.40am at his girlfriend’s flat telling her: “I’ve got this for you so that we can set up home together.”
Hours before he had tried to open a window at a house in Larch Grove, Hartlepool, but he was chased by the owner and he dropped his wallet containing an ID card with his photograph.
The judge asked for the man to be sent a letter with his thanks for helping to nail Holtom.
He had 41 convictions for 97 offences and he was a fifth-strike house burglar with nine burglary convictions since 1996.
Holtom, of Grange Road, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to attempted burglary and burglary.
Martin Scarborough, mitigating, said that Holtom had been out of prison for 13 months before the raids and he had been doing well until that night when he had been drinking and taking drugs.
He had shown remorse in a letter to the judge and in his pre-sentence report.
Judge Peter Bowers told Holtom: “It is not what you did, it is what you left behind.
“It is that uncertainty, that feeling of not being at home in your own house. This little girl is troubled by that.”