A KNIFE-CARRYING intruder who brought Christmas Day terror to a young couple sleeping at their home was told he should expect to receive, “a long custodial sentence”.

The warning was given by a judge to Lee Michael Hocking after he admitted a charge of aggravated burglary during a short plea hearing at Durham Crown Court.

Appearing via video link from nearby Durham Prison, the 32-year-old defendant pleaded guilty to the charge, committed at an address in Murton, on December 25, 2020.

He is said to have entered the property by climbing in through a ground floor bathroom window, between 5.36 and 6.35am.

Hocking looked around the property, before entering a bedroom, where he made a further untidy search of cupboards.

He then entered the bedroom of the couple living at the address, who were, initially asleep.

Hocking stood at the end of their bed and demanded money from the male, threatening him with violence if no cash was forthcoming.

He eventually left with £10 taken from the mantelpiece.

Following Hocking’s guilty plea, his counsel, Jane Waugh, asked Judge James Adkin for an adjournment to the case for preparation of a pre-sentence report by the Probation Service.

She described the crime as, “out of the defendant’s league”, adding that he is now suffering in prison with the Covid virus.

Judge Adkin said he did not believe a probation report was needed, but he did agree to delay sentence until later this month due to the defendant’s illness.

The judge noted the defendant has, “a bad record for burglary”.

Adjourning sentence, Judge Adkin told Hocking: “You have now pleaded guilty, but your barrister says you are not really very well and so we will put it off until Monday January 15.

“You should note the starting point for sentence is ten years and so you will receive a long custodial sentence.”

Hocking, of Harrogate Close, Murton, has already served the custodial part of an eight-week sentence imposed by Newton Aycliffe magistrates in late December for the theft of money from his own grandmother, also on Christmas Day.

He went to her home demanding cash at 7pm, and despite being refused, he took £480 cash and her bank card, which he later used twice to buy cigarettes from different shops.

Hocking told police he was withdrawing from methadone and heroin and used the money to buy heroin.