Woman awoke to find burglar in her bedroom at her Hartlepool home

The case was heard at Teesside Crown Court.
The case was heard at Teesside Crown Court.

A startled householder woke to find a drunken burglar in her bedroom.

Tony McKinley was chased from the house by the woman's partner.

McKinley was given a suspended jail term after a court heard he has since curbed his drinking and has the offer of a job.

"The woman locked her mid-terraced house in York Road in Hartlepool before going to bed at about 2am," said Phillip Morley, prosecuting, at Teesside Crown Court.

"She woke at about 7am to see McKinley in the doorway of her bedroom.

"Her partner chased him downstairs and out of the property.

"McKinley was arrested nearby wearing a fleece taken from the house, and carrying an Xbox controller he had also taken."

The court heard a television had been unplugged and placed by the front door, but no other items had been taken.

"McKinley was interviewed by the police," said Mr Morley.

"He said the front door of the house was unlocked, and he had entered to roll a cigarette.

"He admitted being very drunk, and said he couldn't remember much of what had happened."

McKinley, 21, of Catcote Road, Hartlepool, admitted burglary on May 27.

He has a previous conviction for burglary.

Laurie Scott, defending, said in mitigation: "Mr McKinley suffered a bereavement in 2016 which sent him off the rails.

"This offence was a result of his binge drinking, which he has since taken steps to control,

"Mr McKinley is ashamed of what he did that night, and he would like to apologise to the victim.

"The items stolen were of low value and were recovered.

"Mr McKinley seems to be making genuine progress with curbing his drinking.

"He has recently completed a building qualification which should lead to a job."

Judge Simon Bourne-Arton sentenced McKinley to 10 months in prison, suspended for two years, 110 hours of unpaid work, and a curfew of three months.

The judge told McKinley: "You have had a troubled background, and there was an event in 2016 which sent you off the rails.

"You blame the drink for this latest offence, but that is an aggravating feature, it must have been very distressing for the victim to know that you were in her bedroom and drunk.

"I have to decide if it is better for the public for you to serve the sentence in prison, or for you to be on an order in the community.

"Probation say they can work with you so you have a lot to thank them for."