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Teenagers convicted for ‘despicable’ burglaries of two elderly women

13 May 2019

Two teenagers have been convicted, and one sentenced, after they burgled the homes of two elderly women in Luton, in October last year, threatening them with knives and screwdrivers.

Edward Cawley, 19, of no fixed address, was sentenced at Luton Crown Court on Friday (10 May). He received six years in prison for aggravated burglary and three years for burglary to run concurrently, following the two incidents in Wellgate Road and Bampton Road.

A 16-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, of no fixed address, was found guilty of the offences at a trial in March but is yet to be sentenced.

At 10.30pm on 20 October 2018, a 90-year-old woman was woken by someone saying ‘hello’. Her bedroom light was then switched on and she saw two teenage boys in her bedroom, with their faces covered.

They continuously asked her if she had any money, and went on to search her house, emptying cupboards and throwing her belongings to the floor. A number of items were taken, including her handbag, bank cards, a bin from her bedroom and a dressing gown that she kept in the hallway in case she needed to go to hospital quickly.

Later that night, an 82-year-old woman went to bed after locking her porch door, front door and kitchen door securely. She was woken at around 11.45pm by someone shaking her, and saw two people in her bedroom, one holding a knife and a screwdriver.

One then asked her where her money was, before taking a pink pillowcase and filling it with items from her bedroom. He then left the room to search the rest of the house, before coming back and trying to take her jewellery box.

As she made a grab for it to try and stop him taking it, she cut her finger. When she asked if she could get a towel to stop her finger bleeding, the two teenagers said no.

They left the house when she told them that a defibrillator was an alarm, and she rang the police.

Five police officers headed to the immediate area, and were made aware of a white car that had been seen in the area at the time of the burglaries. Officers established where it was and signalled for it to pull over, at which point two people – Cawley and the 16-year-old boy, who was 15 at the time of the offences - got out of the car and tried to run away. They were chased by officers, caught, arrested and charged; although both answered ‘no comment’ to all questions put to them.

Detective Constable Jason Wheeler, who investigated the incidents, said: “To threaten two elderly women in their homes, where they are supposed to feel safe, is disgusting. I hope the boys seriously think about what they put these two women through, and realise that they should be utterly ashamed of their actions.

“I have kept in touch with both the elderly victims throughout the investigations, and naturally they were left shaken. Both have shown incredible dignity throughout, and thankfully we were able to reunite them with most of their property, although some jewellery and a laptop have never been found.

“Although it won’t change what they were put through, I hope the victims have been able to gain some sense of justice following their ordeals. I hope it also shows other people that if you target vulnerable or elderly people in the same way, we will do what we can to find you and put you behind bars.”

In a statement read out in court, the 90-year-old victim said: “I am an independent women, but do suffer with osteoarthritis. I feel lucky that I was not hurt as I had heard about a 98-year-old man was found lying on the floor after his burglary recently in the news.

“I feel sorry for these men who break into houses and steal things as they should be more useful in life. They took my £40 cash which was more of a nuisance. I’m not going to let these people change who I am.”

Both teenagers were also found not guilty of a further two attempted burglaries on the same night.

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