Mother snares burglar by photographing him as he jumped out window

Mother snares burglar by photographing him as he jumped out window

Widowed mother catches serial burglar who had 107 previous convictions by photographing him as he jumped out of a window after ransacking her flat and leaving her autistic daughter hysterical

  • Serial burglar John Todd has been breaking into people’s homes since the 1980s
  • Latest crime saw him smash into Newcastle home of widow and vulnerable teen
  • They came home to find him still inside and managed to take a picture of him
  • Todd admitted burglary at court and was jailed for two years and four months 

Serial burglar John Todd (pictured) has been jailed after smashing his way into the home of a widow and her teenage daughter

A shocked burglary victim helped snare the culprit by taking his photograph as he climbed out of her home.

Serial offender John Todd, who has broken into people’s homes time and time again since the 1980s, had smashed the bedroom window of a vulnerable teenager to force entry while she was out with her mother.

A court heard he ransacked the Newcastle flat and was still inside when they got home.

As the 48-year-old clambered out of the smashed window, the terrified mother had the presence of mind to take his picture on her phone, which led to his arrest as police recognised him after his 107 previous convictions.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the widowed mother and her 17-year-old daughter, who has autism, went to work and school on May 13 this year and returned together later that night to find the burglary in progress.

Their suspicions were first aroused when they saw plants spread across the garden path, along with a bag.

Neil Pallister, prosecuting, said: ‘She could see her daughter’s bedroom window was fully smashed with glass on the ground outside.

‘She became very frightened, believing someone was inside and a few seconds later she heard a man’s voice coming from inside her flat.’

The woman shouted for him to get out and ten seconds later, Todd climbed out of the broken window and made some excuse about being known to her neighbour.

She took his photograph and called 999 before entering her home to find it had been ransacked, with belongings thrown around.

Caught in the act: The mother was able to snap this picture of Todd fleeing her home which was then given to police who instantly recognised him from his 107 previous convictions

Some 18 items, worth more than £5,000, had been stolen, including a £3,000 mountain bike – which was later recovered, a drone, a computer and a camera.

Todd was living at a hostel on Graingerville North at the time, close to the victim, in the West End of Newcastle.

In a statement, the mother, who has lived there for 20 years without any problems, said her daughter has autism and anxiety and her bedroom, which Todd smashed his way into, had been her ‘safe place’.

She added: ‘She became hysterical. Our home was trashed.’

The mother said she works two or three jobs to provide for her family since her husband died, adding ‘I’m angry he has done this to us’.

The court heard Todd has around 30 convictions for burglaries and attempted burglaries, from 1989, throughout the 90s and in 2005, 2007, 2011, 2016, 2019 and 2020.

Todd admitted burglary and was jailed for two years four months at Newcastle Crown Court

He pleaded guilty to burglary and was jailed for 876 days – the three year minimum sentence for ‘three strike burglars’ minus the 20 per cent discount for his guilty plea.

Recorder Neil Haythorne told him: ‘This must have been a very frightening experience for them.’

Brian Mark, defending, said: ‘He has become institutionalised and his most comfortable place is prison.

‘That needs to be addressed or he will come back again and again and again.

‘He is completely unable to cope and exist as a human being out of the prison setting.

‘He is sorry for the trouble that he caused. He will require a great deal of help to make sure he can escape his institutionalisation.

‘Hopefully this time he can rehabilitate himself.’

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