'I feel violated' - Burglar 'stood over' woman as she slept in chair

Paul Gilbert who has been jailed after admitting a spate of burglaries in the Great Yarmouth area.

Paul Gilbert who has been jailed after admitting a spate of burglaries in the Great Yarmouth area. - Credit: Norfolk Constabulary

A woman who learned to talk again after being left in a coma for three months following a car crash was burgled as she slept in a lounge chair, a court has heard.

Paul Gilbert, 33, carried out a spate of burglaries in the Great Yarmouth area in late 2019 and last summer.

Norwich Crown Court heard the victim of a burglary at Wherry Way, Yarmouth, had been asleep in her chair in the lounge when Gilbert struck on August 13 last year.

Oliver Haswell, prosecuting, said bank cards and cash were among the items stolen.

He said Gilbert had “stood over” the victim to steal items from her handbag as she slept in her chair.

A victim statement read out in court by Mr Haswell described how the woman had speech problems following a crash in 1969 after which she spent three months in a coma.

The woman, who had been asleep in her chair, said she felt “sick” and “violated” following the burglary.

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But just a few days later Gilbert burgled the property of a vulnerable victim in St Peters Plain, Yarmouth.

The victim in that burglary, on August 26 last year, was a wheelchair user, and awoke to find Gilbert in her home with a torch after her cat alerted her.

The victim said the burglary had “tarnished my security and how I feel at home”.

She said she no longer felt safe in her own home and added her cat too had also suffered.

Gilbert, of Victoria Road, Yarmouth, appeared in court on Tuesday, March 9 to be sentenced after having previously admitted two burglaries in the Yarmouth area in November 2019.

He also pleaded guilty to fraud in March last year, as well as three counts of burglary within days of each other in August last year.

Jailing Gilbert for a total of three years, Judge Anthony Bate said the victims had suffered in their own homes as a result of what he had done.

Danielle O’Donovan, mitigating, said there had been a significant gap in Gilbert’s offending with his last offences, before these matters, being nine years ago.

She said he was focusing on his future and parenting as he had a baby boy he had not been able to see  as he was in custody.

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