Stratford serial burglar jailed for ‘pitiless and life scarring crimes’

A serial burglar who forced one of his victims to strip for him was jailed for nine-and-a-half years for his ‘pitiless and life scarring’ crimes.

Stephen Smith, 18, threatened a 21-year-old fashion student with a pair of scissors and said he would kill her family if she did not do exactly what he wanted.

Smith, who has a two-year-old daughter, broke into 23 properties between April and June of this year swiping more than �40,000 of property and a string of high-value cars, including a BMW and a �10,000 Audi.

Southwark Crown Court heard that since turning 13 he had committed 63 burglaries.

Jailing him, Judge Alistair McCreath said: “[Those burglaries] were serious, some of them particularly serious because people were in those houses at the time you committed the burglary, but all of them serious because I’m quite sure that, whether drunk or sober you, nonetheless, you did do not on the spur of the moment but having thought through what you were going to do.

“Serious though those burglaries are there was one of them that was especially serious.

“What you did that night hardly needs repeating but you burgled that home and when the young woman, alone in her bed, awoke to find you in her room you threatened her with scissors, made her strip naked and dance for you, and you subjected her to a serious sexual assault.”

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“I’m going to read something to you the Lord Chief Justice said recently: “To be burgled and then subjected to the dreadful indignity of a violent, sexual offence,” and I know you did not use actual violence but you threatened it, “is to become the victim of a pitiless, wicked crime, as those are pitiless, life scarring, deliberately committed crimes”.

Smith had climbed into the student’s home through an open window on June 5 before raiding the property and walking into her bedroom.

Prosecutor Peter Zinner said: “He told her that if she did not stay there and stay still he would kill her family.

“He then demanded that she get out of bed.

“He took hold of the scissors and ordered her to strip naked and then told her that she must dance for him.”

For Smith, defence counsel Safora Syed said the teenager had suffered a ‘feeling of rejection’ after discovering, when he was 13, that he was adopted.

She said: “The money was not to support a certain lifestyle, he was living on the street at the time.

“The reason why he wanted to make money was in order for him to pay off a drug debt.”

Smith, of Ham Park Road, Stratford, admitted ten counts of burglary, four counts of taking a conveyance without authority, two counts of theft, two count of attempting to commit a burglary, one count of sexual assault and one count of assault by penetration.

He asked for another 12 offences of burglary to be taken into consideration.

He was jailed for nine-and-a-half years, banned from driving for two years, and ordered to sign on the sexual offenders register for life.