A judge described as “a bizarre karmic judgement” the fact that an aggravated burglar was knocked down, breaking his leg, as he fled the scene of the crime.

Robert Jones, 26, and an unknown accomplice, both wearing balaclavas, knocked at the back door of a semi-detached residential property in Peterlee at 7.50am on August 24.

Durham Crown Court was told a female resident, who was at home with her grown-up daughter, went to answer the door, but refused to open it on seeing the callers in dark clothing both wearing masks and gloves.

She told them she would ring the police, but before she was able to do so they had kicked at the door and forced their way in, one armed with a screw driver, demanding the keys to a BMW car parked on the drive way.

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Daniel Penman, prosecuting, said she told them she did not have the car keys, so they asked for “the money”, and began searching drawers, threatening to stab the woman.

She was led upstairs as the search continued, with one of the males going into her daughter’s bedroom, but immediately leaving, saying to his companion: “There’s a daughter in there”.

They took two bottles of after shave from another bedroom, before leaving, smashing the woman’s mobile phone as they made off, to prevent her ringing the police.

Mr Penman said the victim described the terrifying ordeal as lasting between five and ten minutes.

A few minutes later there was a road accident some distance away as Jones was run over and received a fracture to an upper leg bone, while his side-kick just made off, leaving him lying in the road.

Mr Penman said witnesses saw Jones remove the stolen bottles of after shave from his pockets and thrust them to the side of the road.

A dark face mask, gloves and a screw driver were also found nearby.

Jones was taken under arrest to hospital, where he spent the next three days receiving treatment for his leg injury, before being transferred to a police station and making no comment in a formal interview.

But he was picked out as the culprit by the female householder in an identity procedure from a panel of men all wearing balaclavas.

Jones, 26, of Peter Lee Cottages, Wheatley Hill, admitted a charge of aggravated burglary at a recent plea hearing.

The sentencing hearing was told his 18 previous offences include a case of wounding a man’s torso with a saw and an affray, in which he threatened to petrol bomb a house and assault an occupier.

He was also subject of a community order imposed in February at the time of his latest crime.

Rebecca Brown, in mitigation, said his guilty plea at the first crown court hearing was, “an indication of genuine remorse”, which was further expressed in his pre-sentence probation report.

“Again, he wishes, through me, to pass on his apologies.

“He’s only 26 and the major reasons for his offending have been identified as his use of drink and drugs, his poor thinking skills and his negative peer influences.

“Hopefully they can be addressed while under the supervision of the Probation Service, while in prison.

“He does have a great degree of insight into what has been, ‘going wrong’.”

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She added that he had an old leg injury which has been exacerbated by the new one, suffered while running away from the burglary scene, for which he has had a metal rod placed inserted, which causes, “pain and discomfort”.

It has left needing the assistance of a cell mate for many day-to-day activities.

Judge James Adkin said: “It must have been completely terrifying for those two women to have two masked men entering their home and asking for money, while intoxicated of alcohol and cocaine.

“You indicated you wanted the keys to a BMW and left, having searched rooms at the house.

“In a bizarre karmic judgement you were hit by a car as you left and broke your leg, then tried to dispose of the after shave you stole, as seen by witnesses.”

He imposed a prison sentence of seven years and six months, but as Jones is considered a “high risk” of causing harm to adults, and therefore classed as, “a dangerous offender”, he must serve two-thirds of the sentence before being eligible for consideration for parole.

Upon release he will be subject to three years’ extended licence period.

Read next:

               County Durham man returned home to discover burglary

               Cases of five people before court in Durham in recent days

               Ferryhill brothers jailed for 'violent' behaviour over £140 laminate flooring

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