Leamington robber handed himself in to police

Matthew O'Rourke
Matthew O'Rourke

After threatening to kill a man while attacking and robbing him in his own home late at night, Matthew O’Rourke was overcome with remorse and handed himself in to the police.

And because of that a judge at Warwick Crown Court knocked an extra year off O’Rourke’s sentence after he pleaded guilty to two charges of robbery.

O’Rourke, aged 36, of St Paul’s Square, Leamington, was jailed for seven years – after originally facing an eight-year sentence.

Prosecutor Paul Spratt said that in September last year a 57-year-old man was in bed at his home in Morton Street, Leamington, when there was a knock at the door.

Thinking it might be his grandson, who lived with him and had gone out for the evening, he went downstairs in his pyjamas.

But when he opened the door he was instead greeted by O’Rourke who was looking for his grandson.

Despite being told he was not there, O’Rourke forced his way in and followed the man into the living room where he picked up a chair and threw it at him.

O’Rourke, who had a metal dog chain wrapped round his right hand, told the frightened man: “I’m the worst nightmare you can imagine.”

He then punched him to the side of his face with some force, causing cuts to his cheek and ear, before demanding: “Give me your money or I’m going to kill you.”

His victim did not have any significant amount of money in the house, but when he was told that, O’Rourke picked up a letter opener with a six-inch blade. The man, who suffers from asthma, then remembered that he had £5 in an upstairs bedroom, and went up to get it, followed by O’Rourke who began throwing things to the bedroom floor.

They went back downstairs where O’Rourke, who had been given the £5, began taking property including a laptop computer, a sat-nav and a set of keys.

As he did so he pointed the letter opener at the man, leaving him in no doubt that if he did anything, he would use it.

At that point the man’s grandson arrived home and was robbed of his phone, keys and wallet by O’Rourke who then left, warning them that he had the keys and would return and kill them if they called the police.

Despite the threat, the grandson picked up two knives and set off after O’Rourke who turned to confront him before throwing the laptop and other items to the ground in an alleyway.

O’Rourke made off, but a few days later he announced in a chip shop that he was ‘a wanted man’ – and he later handed himself in at Leamington police station.

Mr Spratt added that as a result of the incident the victim has moved out of his home because the fear of O’Rourke returning to carry out his threat is playing on his mind.

Sean Logan, defending, said: “He had been using enormous amounts of alcohol and was drunk at the time and had also taken legal highs.

“This was in some ways a targeted offence. He says he foolishly agreed to collect a debt on behalf of someone else. But he did hand himself in, and there is a letter to Your Honour which is a very clear expression of remorse.”

Mr Logan said O’Rourke had led ‘an odd life,’ and although he had convictions for assault and burglary more than four years ago, he had settled down until a relationship hit the rocks and he ‘turned to substances and alcohol again.’

Judge Alan Parker explained the sentence would have been eight years after giving O’Rourke credit for his plea, but that he would reduce it by a further year because of the remorse he showed by handing himself in.