Professional burglar injured 75-year-old woman and told man he had hepatitis during syringe threat

Thomas Cawley was sent back to prison for five and a half years.
Thomas Cawley was sent back to prison for five and a half years.

One of Leeds' most prolific burglars is back in jail over his latest crime spree in which he injured an elderly woman after targeting her home.

Thomas Cawley also threatened a man with a syringe and told him he had hepatitis C after he was chased from another property.

Cawley has a history of preying on elderly victims and is responsible for well over 100 burglary offences in Leeds.

The 38-year-old has burglary convictions dating back to when he was ten years old.

His latest sentence of five and a half years means he has been given jail sentences totalling almost 40 years since 1999.

Robert Galley, prosecuting, said Cawley targeted a house on Scott Green Drive, Gildersome, on September 22 last year.

A 75-year-old woman lives at the address with her husband who is suffering from dementia.

Cawley went into the house as the woman was in the garden and her husband was inside.

He stole jewellery, a handbag, wallet and a purse from a bedroom.

Cawley pushed past the woman when she went into the property and saw him.

She was knocked over and suffered injuries to her hand.

Cawley was recognised from CCTV footage from a newsagent nearby as he went into the premises after committing the offence.

Mr Galley read a victim statement to the court on behalf of the woman.

She said: "My nerves are shot and I am not normally a nervous person.

"I now feel like a prisoner inside my home."

Cawley burgled a house on Armley Grange Avenue, Armley, on October 2.

The man who lives at the address was in the garden at the time and his wife was inside the property.

Cawley was chased from the property by the man.

Mr Galley said Cawley pulled out a syringe and told him he had hepatitis C.

He handed over items he had stolen in the burglary before running off.

Cawley, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to two offences of burglary and one of affray.

He asked for a further offence of burglary, at a house on Fawcett Lane, Wortley, to be taken into consideration by the court.

The court heard the offences make Cawley an EIGHTH-strike burglar.,

James Littlehales, mitigating, said Cawley had committed the offences to fund his drug habit and accepted that he would be facing another lengthy sentence.

Judge Simon Batiste said: "Burglaries committed when people are at home are always regarded as more serious.

"Even more serious than that are burglaries where there are confrontations.

"You have an appalling record of burglary. You are, in short, a thoroughly dishonest man."

Cawley's previous jail sentences have included:

Being locked up 2015 after he was caught hiding on the bedroom floor of an elderly couple's home.

In 2011 he was recalled to prison after being released on licence after being locked up for his involvement in more than 100 break-ins.

Cawley was jailed in 2009 for a series of burglaries in which over £24,000 worth of valuables were stolen from the homes of the elderly in Leeds.

He was jailed for three years in 2006 for terrifying a frail woman in her home in Beckett's Park.