Prolific burglar jailed after giving eight-year-old nightmares following raid
A homeless burglar has been jailed for leaving a trail of misery in raids on family homes which left victims too traumatised to sleep.
Shane Speed wrestled with one mother in Totnes who caught him red-handed in her home and struck at homes in Plymouth, Newton Abbot, and Torbay before he was caught by police.
Speed was trapped after using his own name when he sold a stolen heirloom in a pawn shop and gave himself up to the police after being told he had been identified.
The serial burglar left one eight-year-old girl so frightened at the thought of there being an intruder in her home that she is still having nightmares weeks afterwards, Exeter Crown Court was told.
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Speed, aged 45, who was meant to have been living at a probation hostel in Greenbank, Plymouth, admitted four domestic burglaries and asked for a fifth to be considered.
He was jailed for four years by Judge John Neligan who said the offences were aggravated by him having 16 previous convictions for burglary and having been released from his last sentence just weeks earlier.
He told him: ”This was not just breaking into people’s properties, it was invading their homes where they are entitled to feel safe and secure.
“One of the victims has written to me setting out the devastating effects. She tells me her two girls aged eight and 14 were very upset and the younger one cannot sleep and is having nightmares.
“I have to take into account the effect on this little girl of coming home and finding her home had been burgled
“You are a professional burglar who has spent two thirds of your adult life in prison. It is time to stop burgling. The only safe place for you is in prison.”
The Judge praised the courage of Totnes home owner Tracy Viles-Walker who confronted Speed after finding him in her home and snatched back a bag of loot from him.
Mr Gordon Richings, prosecuting, said Speed was living rough in South Devon after leaving a hostel in Plymouth in July and broke into the homes over the space of just seven days.
He was interrupted by Mrs Viles-Walker during his raid on her home in Hillbrook Road, Totnes, and she prevented him escaping with her iPhone, two cameras and a Walkman but later found he had vandalised the house by spraying bleach.
The other raids were at Clifton Place, Plymouth; Abbotsbury Road, Newton Abbot; Warbro Road, Torquay; and Marine Drive, Paignton and the total value of the stolen goods was £3,192.
The only item recovered was a gold wedding ring which belonged to the grandmother of the victim of the Newton Abbot raid. Speed was caught on CCTV when he took it to a shop in the town where he left his own name.
Mr William Parkhill, defending, said Speed had coped for two months after being released from his latest sentence but reverted to crime after breaking into a house very close to it in Plymouth.
He started living rough and using heroin again and it led to a spiral of offending.