Shocked Longton family detained burglar until police arrived
SERIAL burglar Paul Cornes broke into a house armed with a knife as a family slept upstairs.
Horrified homeowner Ansar Mahmood, whose three small children were only yards away, confronted the 44-year-old after waking up during the raid in Longton.
Cornes was yesterday jailed for four-and-a-half years at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court, after it emerged he had convictions for 23 other burglaries.
Neil Ahuja, prosecuting, said: “A detached property on Upper Belgrave Road was occupied at the time by Mr and Mrs Mahmood, their three young children and Mr Mahmood’s brother Wajid Hussain.
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“They went to bed at 10.30pm. At 11.45pm Mr Hussain was woken by a noise and was startled to see the defendant standing in the doorway of his room.
“The defendant went downstairs as Mr Hussain shouted to his brother. Ansar Mahmood came to the top of the stairs and shouted to the defendant, asking him what he was doing.
“The defendant asked if his daughter was in the house. Mr Mahmood engaged him in conversation to keep him there until police arrived, which they did. The defendant appeared to have been drinking.”
The court heard Cornes had broken in via a conservatory door. Tools including a chainsaw and garden shears were found outside, while a kitchen knife with a three-inch blade was found in Cornes’s pocket.
Cornes claimed he had no memory of the burglary, which happened on April 23, because he had been drinking while on medication. However, he pleaded guilty to burglary with intent to steal.
Robin Lichfeld, mitigating, said Cornes was a heavy drinker who had suffered from depression for a number of years and beaten a heroin addiction.
“He certainly didn’t intend to go out to burgle,” he said. “He regrets the fact he disturbed the people there.
“The knife wasn’t produced and there’s no suggestion it was used to threaten anyone. He sat in the living room talking to one of the occupants until police arrived.”
Jailing Cornes for four-and-a-half years, Judge Robert Trevor-Jones said: “You have 23 similar offences in your offending history over the years. This is an appalling record.
“You will have received countless warnings of the repercussions of continuing to do it.
“On this occasion you got into somebody’s house at night, when they were present with young children asleep upstairs.
“You disturbed the adult occupants. It’s quite clear you were equipped for burglary. You were caught red-handed.
“I do not accept you had some sort of blackout and didn’t realise you were burgling a house.”
Cornes, from Locketts Lane, Longton, was also sentenced for a public order offence yesterday, alongside Michael Jarvis.
The court heard the pair did not get on and had a drunken fight in the street in Snow Hill, Shelton, on Feburary 23.
Cornes received a three-month concurrent sentence for his part in the fight.
The court heard 36-year-old Jarvis, of Snow Hill, Shelton, had a history of public order offences.
He was handed a three-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, with a 12-month supervision requirement.
He must also complete anger management and alcohol abuse programmes.
Judge Trevor-Jones told him: “When it comes to violent behaviour you have demonstrated, time and time again, that you are someone that resorts to violence.”