AN INTRUDER who tried to burgle a Carlisle children’s home was identified because he injured himself as he tried to crawl through a cat-flap, leaving telltale DNA.

At the city’s Rickergate court, 34-year-old Simon Highmore admitted responsibility for the failed overnight raid on the property in the Warwick Road area of the city in May last year. He was prosecuted after police found his blood at the scene. 

It provided DNA which was a match for the defendant.

Prosecutor George Shelley described what happened – and outlined the negative effect the crime has had on a vulnerable child who was living in the facility at the time.

“Mr Highmore attempted to gain access to the property via the cat flap, which was located at the bottom of a rear door,” said Mr Shelley.

During his bungled attempt to get into the property, Highmore damaged the cat flap and eventually abandoned his attempt to get inside.

He then left the scene, but he left blood behind, which was swabbed and forensically analysed and later confirmed to belong to Mr Highmore.

The prosecutor then read aloud a statement from the home’s registered manager, who said a child who was resident there at the time of the burglary was a “night owl,” who often went to the kitchen when she could not sleep in the early hours to make herself a snack.

“For a good few weeks [after the burglary], she would not leave her bedroom once the staff had gone to bed. The child also became anxious about whether windows and doors were locked.

“It’s crucial that these children feel safe when they are living here,” added the statement.

The child had also been concerned about the possibility of the burglar returning and of the case going to court.

The court heard that Highmore’s criminal record, which consists of 137 previous offences. Some 99 of those crimes were thefts and kindred offences.

The defendant’s defence lawyer Tariq Khawam agreed that the case should be dealt with alongside other pending cases at Carlisle Crown Court.

Magistrates sent the case to that court for a hearing on February 13. Remanding the defendant in custody until then, they ordered a background Probation Service report to assist the sentencing judge.

The defence case includes the contention Highmore, of Melbourne Road, Carlisle, did not know the building he was trying to break into was in fact a children’s home.

He claimed to have little memory of what happened that night. Magistrates were told that the attempted burglary carries a potential jail term starting at 12 months.

Read more: Hapless Carlisle thief with 125 offences back behind bars