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Judge jails Holywell career criminal whose victim died days after he burgled house

Alec Jones

AN ELDERLY woman spent her last few days living in fear after a career criminal broke into her home in the middle of the night.

Catherine Staniforth, 84, died three days after Alec Jones forced his way into her house in Holywell.

And Mold Crown Court was told that while there was no evidence to link the burglary to her death, Jones was responsible for her misery at the end of her life.

Jailing the defendant for four years and nine months on Tuesday, Judge Niclas Parry told him: “One of her last experiences following a decent, law-abiding life was to be left confused, distressed and fearful because her home had been burgled.

“You were the cause of that unhappy end to her life.”

Jones, of Well Street, Holywell, initially denied burglary, but changed his plea after forensics linked his footwear to the scene.

The 34-year-old, who had previous convictions for 35 house burglaries, admitted breaking into Mrs Staniforth’s home on Fron Park Road on January 19 and stealing £90 in cash, two handbags and a purse.

Mrs Staniforth – who saw Jones in her garden after being woken up – passed away at home on January 22.

For the last few days of her life she had been scared, said Judge Parry.

“She was nervous that the burglar would return. She lived alone and she was asleep in her bed,” he said.

“There can be no suggestion based on any evidence that the trauma in any way contributed to her death days later, but those were some of her final experiences in life.”

Judge Parry said the offence was aggravated by Jones’ string of previous convictions. The defendant was also on licence at the time after being released from prison for similar offences.

Inspector Dave Speed, who led the investigation, said the case was ‘particularly poignant’.

He added: “The seriousness of his crime has been reflected in the sentence.”