“Can you imagine the terror?” – The burglars who invaded homes when people were still there

It’s every homeowner’s worst fear to be targeted by a burglar. Even worse, for them to strike whilst they are still there. A home should be where people feel safe, and is something that people have worked hard to achieve.

However, when those who strike and take items, some valuable or sentimental – all of extreme importance – people are understandably left shaken and frightened for their own safety.

READ MORE: Woman, 63, carried knife ‘for protection’ from gangs because she was expecting trouble

Manchester’s Crown Courts often sees burglars haunting the glass docks, who have previously targeted empty businesses or homes. But, there are a select few who drop the ball, and hit homes when the owners are still there.

Here, the Manchester Evening News has looked back on the most shocking recent cases before our courts; from the man who was caught wearing a woman’s coat who he had stolen from; to the man who duped an elderly woman into believing she needed work doing in her house before stealing her cash; to the man caught on a Ring doorbell camera by a group of vigilant neighbors.

Lee Ullah



Lee Ullah has now been jailed

Lee Ullah broke into a woman’s home in Oldham – he was later caught by police hiding in a wheeling bin wearing the woman’s coat. At around 6am in October last year, the woman woke to find Ullah inside her house before noticing her TV was missing.

Despite challenging him about it, Ullah, 47, fled the scene – wearing her coat. He was later caught hiding in a wheelie bin still wearing the coat.

Ullah, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to two counts of burglary and criminal damage and was jailed for three years and nine months in February this year. To read the full store, click here.

Daniel O’Donnell



Devious Daniel O’Donnell cruelly stole from a 70-year-old woman whilst her back was turned. He had knocked on the woman’s door in Denton on Remembrance Day 2020 and offered to sort her overgrown garden for £ 250.

O’Donnell, 30, then tricked his way into her home claiming that her chimney was leaking. As she showed him the cupboard where the chimney was, he noticed there were two safes in the same cupboard.

When she became distracted outside, he swiped the safes, as well as her handbag which contained her purse, cash and bank cards. He loaded the items into a green wheelie bin and dragged them down the drive under the pretence of ‘moving it out of the way’.

O’Donnell, of no fixed abode, was jailed for more than five years in December last year after admitting burglary.

To read the full story, click here.

John Stoddard



John Stoddard broke into a home while the householder was watching TV in bed

John Stoddard was drunk when he broke into a woman’s home as she watched TV in bed. The 42-year-old climbed in through her bedroom window and headed downstairs where he took valuables, including sentimental items, worth more than £ 1,300.

He made several trips up and down the stairs as he threw the items he nicked over the garden fence. The woman, 62, was sitting in bed watching TV when she heard a noise at around 7am, but thought nothing of it, Manchester Crown Court heard in July last year.

She was unaware the burglar had climbed two fences to get into her back garden before climbing through her open bathroom window. Stoddard was later caught red-handed after an eagle-eyed neighbor took a picture of him leaving the house.

Jailing Stoddard for two years, who admitted burglary, a judge told him: “Can you imagine the terror of that poor lady?”

To read the full story, click here.

Wesley Trevett



Wesley Trevett has been jailed
Wesley Trevett has been jailed

Brazen Wesley Trevett had a tendency to burgle homes to fund his heroin habit. However, in one particularly frightening incident, the 42-year-old meandered into an elderly woman’s home in the middle of the day.

The woman, 89, who was deaf, was only aware that someone had been in the house when she noticed that her patio door was wide open. Trevett had taken the woman’s handbag, house keys and £ 300 in cash before leaving through the front door.

Her handbag was later handed back to her by a good Samaritan, but the burglary left her ‘shaken’. Hours earlier, Trevett had attempted to burgle a house in Bolton, when he was caught on a Ring doorbell camera walking up to the front door, pulling a mask over his face and trying to handle the door. A small child was in the house at the time.

Trevett was jailed for two years and three months in March this year after pleading guilty to four burglaries and attempted burglary.

To read the full story, click here.

David Southern



David Southern – prolific, but bungling burglar who left a huge clue at the scene of one break-in

Dopey David Southern caused misery to neighbors in Cheshire. The 50-year-old had been breaking into and ransacking homes – but was caught out after he left a piece of his DNA behind on a head torch at one of the houses.

Residents kept an eye out for Southern, of Romiley Street, Walton, and saw him on their Ring doorbell cameras either on their property or, in some cases, taking items from their homes and sheds. Through their vigilance, Southern was detained by residents on November 30, 2021, after he was caught trying doors in Roften Way. Officers arrested him and began to piece together his offending.

Appearing at Chester Crown Court in February this year after admitting one count of dwelling burglary, one attempted dwelling burglary, four burglaries other than a dwelling, going equipped, theft of a bicycle and fraud, Southern was jailed for five years.

To read the full story, click here.

See the latest court and crime news in your area by receiving email update

Leave a Comment

Advertise