Burglar Locked Up For Locking Up Pensioner

Let the punishment fit the crime says Crown Court

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Thomas Joseph McDonagh,

Thomas Joseph McDonagh, jailed for four years

Hammersmith and Fulham Police


Novello Street Landlord Prosecuted by Council


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A burglar who locked a 90-year-old victim in his own Fulham basement in the winter of 2014 was jailed for four years last Wednesday, 25 March.

Isleworth Crown Court heard how Thomas Joseph McDonagh, a 45 year old of no fixed abode, introduced himself to his victim as a workman charged with fixing a problem with the local water supply, around noon on 4 December 2014.

As the pensioner, whose identity has not been disclosed, obstructed the doorway to his home in SW6, McDonagh pushed him out of the way and ordered his victim to check the temperature of the pipes in the basement. After co-operating in the hope that McDonagh would leave, the victim found the door up from the basement had been locked from the outside.

He was trapped for several minutes, but managed to 'slip' the lock and escape, noticing on his way up that the burglar had piled several of his possessions in the hallway. McDonagh rushed down the stairs, pinned the 90-year-old against a wall and ran off without taking any property with him.

The victim then followed the assailant into the street, shouting for help. Fortunately, a local workman heard the old man's pleas and noted down the index of the white van McDonagh was driving.

A police investigation found forensic evidence identifying McDonagh as the suspect, and he was arrested on suspicion of burglary while driving his van in Hayes on 18 December.

After the sentence, Detective Constable Andy Griffin of Hammersmith and Fulham Police said :

"This man preyed on an elderly and vulnerable man and locked the victim up in his own home, it was a despicable crime. The victim showed amazing courage during the burglary and I would like to pay tribute to him and those who came to his aid.

"This case highlights the importance of checking who someone is before you
open the door and let them get inside your property."

March 27, 2015