Leeds burglar went on crime spree 'to pay for his mum's funeral bill'

A career burglar claimed he carried out a spree of house break-ins in order to pay for his mother's funeral.

Monday, 23rd March 2020, 11:45 am
Updated Monday, 23rd March 2020, 4:04 pm

Mark McDonnell stole thousands of pounds worth of valuables and caused damage during five offences at homes in Wakefield and Dewsbury.

A court heard the 45-year-old has previous convictions for burglary, robbery and theft dating back almost 30 years.

McDonnell, of Colenso Grove, Holbeck, Leeds, was jailed for five years and four months.

Sign up to our daily Wakefield Express Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Leeds Crown Court

Judge Tom Bayliss QC told the defendant: "You are a career burglar.

"Our homes, particularly in these troubled times, should be our refuge.

"They should be where we feel safe and secure.

"People like you who make a habit out of breaking into people's homes must be dealt with severely by the courts."

Mark McDonnell was jailed for five years and four months over spree of burglaries

Dave Mackay, prosecuting, said McDonnell smashed the patio doors of a house on Pinderhill Avenue, Wakefield, to get into the property on February 14 this year.

As he outlined the case at Leeds Crown Court, Mr Mackay said it was not clear how McDonnell had manage to smash the doors.

The defendant, who appeared in court on a video link, shouted: "I used a brick."

The house was ransacked and McDonnell stole a watch, an iPad and Playstation.

The homeowner described how he "felt violated" knowing that someone had been into his property and gone through his personal belongings.

After being arrested McDonnell admitted carrying out four more offences.

He committed two attempted burglaries at houses in Wakefield, also on February 14.

Around £600 worth of damage was caused to one of the properties as he tried to force open patio doors.

On February 4 he burgled a house in Dewsbury and took valuables worth £2,100 and caused £400 worth of damage.

McDonnell also stole £1,200 worth of valuables and caused £600 worth of damage to another property in Dewsbury.

He pleaded guilty to one count of burglary and asked for four further offences to be taken into consideration.

Charles Blatchford, mitigating, said McDonnell was close to his mother and she is terminally ill with cancer.

He said: "Mr McDonnell was blinded by grief..

"He had no means at all and funerals are not cheap.

"With a desire to show his family that he could give his mother an appropriate funeral after her passing he has committed these burglaries.

"He has expressed his sincere apologies for the trauma and distress he has caused.

"He knows it is not a nice offence.

"He felt like he needed to do something and felt like a failure as a son."