Burglar jailed for eight years after admitting offences in Leamington

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A burglar who struck at five houses and flats, some of them at night while the occupants were sleeping, has been jailed for eight years – even after getting credit for his pleas.

David Kendall had originally been committed to Warwick Crown Court after pleading guilty to burgling a house in Gem Place, Leamington, and asking for other offences to be considered.

But the judge on that occasion said those other matters were too serious to be dealt with in that way – so Kendall, 37, of no fixed address, was charged with four further burglaries.

After pleading guilty to those, he appeared at Coventry Crown Court where Recorder Pal Sanghera jailed him for four years for the first offence, with a consecutive four-year term for the other four.

Prosecutor Patrick Kelly said that on April 10 a man left his home in Warwick New Road, Leamington, for less than half an hour to collect his partner from the town centre.

When they got back, they found the doors open and that the kitchen door had been forced and two laptops and a tomahawk axe had been stolen.

Three days later, two young women were asleep in the flat they shared in Bedford Street, Leamington, when one of them was woken at 5am by the sound of the front door opening and closing.

At first she though it was her flatmate, but then heard the door open again and someone coming up the stairs, so she sent a text to her flatmate asking who was in the house.

As she was doing so, she looked out of her window and saw a man outside.

Kendall had managed to get into an alleyway, from where he had got into the building through an insecure door before going up to the flat on more than one occasion.

The other occupier had also assumed it was her flatmate when she too heard the front door opening and closing and someone coming up the stairs – until she received the text from her.

She looked out of the bathroom window, from where she could see the shadow of someone by the front door, and when she bravely went down and opened the door, she saw Kendall walking away holding a laptop.

Realising he had been seen, Kendall began to run, but shouted that he was going to leave the laptop, and he put it down on top of a bin before riding away on his bike.

In the early hours of the same morning, he forced the lock on the front door of student accommodation in a flat above a shop in the Parade, Leamington.

He went to the rear of the property and searched an insecure communal area before escaping with a student’s laptop – but fortunately, and sensibly, she had backed up the work on it.

At 6.30 in the morning on April 14 a man was woken by banging and rattling against the front door of his home in Dale Street, and when he got up he found the plaster around the door frame cracked, as if some had been trying to force the door.

The following morning, he and his partner were woken by a similar sound, followed by the rattling of the security chain as Kendall, having managed to force the door open, reached inside to try to pull the chain off.

Two days later, at around ten in the morning, came the burglary with which he was first charged, said Mr Kelly.

While the female occupier was asleep upstairs, Kendall got to the rear of the house in Gem Place via an alleyway off nearby Oxford Street, where he leaned his bike against the wall before getting into the living room through an insecure door.

A neighbour returning to his own home saw him sitting on a sofa in the living room, so went to the house and challenged him – at which Kendall got up and left through the front door.

The neighbour followed him and filmed him on his phone as he walked off along Clarendon Street.

Surprisingly, Kendall then turned and went back to the burgled house, going in through the front door and out the back to retrieve his bike on which he then cycled away.

Kendall, who was on licence from a sentence of three-and-a-half years imposed in 2014 for burglaries, was arrested after an officer recognised him from the recording made by the neighbour.

It was after being charged with that burglary and taken back to a police cell that Kendall asked to be interviewed again and admitted the other offences, added Mr Kelly.