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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

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Prison for burglars who attacked Cumbrian man with shovel

Two teenagers are beginning long prison sentences today for breaking into a man’s house and hitting him over the head with a shovel.

Owen Clarke photo
Owen Clarke, no settled address: Jailed for six-and-a-half years after he admitted aggravated burglary

Owen Clarke, 18, targeted the house in Moor Place, Frizington, after hearing that his victim would be there with his ex-girlfriend. 

Clarke and a 15-year-old accomplice broke in by smashing a rear window with a shovel from the back garden.

Then he woke up the man by putting his fingers into his mouth and pulling them apart “like a fish hook”, then bit him on the leg and abdomen while getting his young friend to hit him with the shovel, Carlisle Crown Court heard.

Clarke, who used to live in St John’s Road, Thornhill, Egremont, but has recently had no settled address, was jailed for six-and-a-half years while the 15-year-old, who cannot be named because of his age, got three years.

Both had admitted aggravated burglary.

Judge Peter Hughes QC described it as “an absolutely appalling” crime which must have traumatised the victim.

David Pojur, prosecuting, told the court the incident happened in the early hours of Saturday, June 15 soon after Clarke had split up from the girl.

After hearing through social media that she and her new boyfriend would be spending the night at the house in Frizington, he and the 15-year-old went there to teach them a lesson.

The man, who was asleep in bed with the girl, woke up to find Clarke attacking him, Mr Pojur said.

When the man tried to get out of bed so it was easier to fight back, Clarke gestured at the shovel and told the youth: “Just hit him with it.”

After a further struggle the pair left the house, cycling away on bikes they had taken earlier from a nearby garden shed.

Clarke, who had 23 previous convictions, pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary and to stealing a £12 crate of lager from a man outside Morrisons supermarket.

His accomplice in that incident was the 16-year-old girl in bed with the victim.

The 15-year-old boy admitted the aggravated burglary as well as breaking into the shed and stealing cigarettes, cash and a car from a property in Queens Close, Frizington.

The 16-year-old girl – who helped Clarke steal the lager while she was still his girlfriend – pleaded guilty to theft and causing the victim in that incident actual bodily harm.

Her barrister Greg Hoare said that though she had at the time been “on a downward spiral, careless of her future and mixing with ne’er-do-wells”, she was now making progress and turning her life around.

She was given a youth rehabilitation order, made to undergo intensive supervision and put under a curfew from 8pm to 6am for eight weeks.

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