Burglar jailed for seven years after stealing an elderly couple’s life savings

Police burglary investigation - stock photo

Police burglary investigation - stock photo - Credit: PA

A burglar who targeted elderly people living in sheltered housing accomodation in Suffolk and Essex has been jailed for seven years.

Two of Martin Cahill’s victims were a couple in their 90s who lost their life savings of around £12,000 after he walked into their flat in William Wood House, Sudbury, through a door they had left open so their carers could get in, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Cahill had gone through a handbag and searched under a mattress before raiding a tin containiing their life savings.

Jailing Cahill, who has more than 50 previous convictions for burglary, Judge Martyn Levett said elderly people were particularly vulnerable and deserved protection from the courts.

“That’s why a deterrent sentence must be passed,” said the judge.

The court heard that on another occasion Cahill had entered Charles Smith House sheltered housing in Colchester through a communal door which had been left half open before walking into the flat of an 86-year-old woman who was asleep.

When she woke to find Cahill in her room he claimed he was there to check on her windows. He tried to steal the woman’s purse but was confronted by her daughter who wrestled the money away from him, said the judge.

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On another occasion Cahill had gone to the flat of a 90 year-old woman in accommodation in Sudbury where most of the reisdents were in their nineties.

Cahill had tricked his way into the woman’s flat by asking for a pen and stole £150 cash which was in a building society pass book and two items of sentimental value which had been bought by her late husband.

Cahill, 49, who was on licence at the time of the offences and has since been recalled to prison, admitted the three burglaries which took place in April and was jailed for seven years.

Hugh Vass, for Cahill, said his client didn’t accept stealing £12,000 from the elderly couple and claimed the amount was £2,000.

He said Cahill had an appalling record and was ashamed of the offences he had committed.

Mr Vass told the court that after Cahill’s release from prison in July last year he had been placed in accomodation in Lowestoft. He was then moved to Sudbury where he was sharing accommodation with heroin and cocaine users and had fallen back into his old ways.

He said the three burglaries were committed in a period of two weeks.

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