A BURGLAR who repeatedly hit a defenceless woman with a hammer during a night-time attack in her own bedroom has been jailed for 11 years.
Helen Godfrey, 55, was sleeping in her upstairs bedroom when she awoke to see Liam Green, 21, near her bed, said Nick Adlington, prosecuting.
She leapt out of bed to tackle him, and in the struggle that followed, Green hit her three times on the head with a hammer.
As she lay on the floor with her head and face bleeding, he rummaged through her bedroom drawers, ran downstairs and searched there for a while before running off with her purse, laptop and other items. As he left, he called out, claiming he was sorry, and giving a false name.
Ms Godfrey is now physically scarred and still suffers from flashbacks and the after-effects of the ordeal.
The Recorder of York, Judge Stephen Ashurst, told Green: “The victim has gone through the most enormous suffering and anxiety. She woke to the terrifying prospect of being attacked in her own home.
“I am quite satisfied having read her victim personal statement, it may take her a very long time to recover from these traumatic events and that is something you should have on your conscience.”
Green, who used to live in Bede Avenue, Clifton, close to Ms Godfrey’s home, pleaded guilty to the aggravated burglary in York and to a burglary in County Durham in June when he disturbed a brother and sister and fled by climbing out of their bathroom window. He was jailed for eight-and-a-half years for the York raid and two-and-a-half for the other.
Mr Adlington said Green shinned up a drainpipe to an open first-floor window at the back of the York terraced house. The light of his mobile phone woke Ms Godfrey when it shone on her face.
After he had gone, she managed to call an ambulance and paramedics alerted police. They tracked him through footprints and fingerprints left at the scene.
Green was arrested on July 11, wearing trainers with Ms Godfrey’s blood on them. He again tried to implicate the innocent man whose name he had used during the burglary, telling police: “I watched him do it.” But the other man had a cast-iron alibi and detectives were able to clear him.
The judge praised the police for the “considerable amount of old-fashioned detective work” that had brought Green to justice and cleared an innocent man.
For Green, Nigel Edwards said he was high on drugs at the time of the York burglary and could not remember what he did. He was being treated in prison for mental health problems.
Green had previously served a 12-week sentence for racially-aggravated assault, and has other previous convictions.
• Green’s girlfriend at the time of the burglary, Stephanie Knights, 18, of Rowntree Avenue, Clifton, will be sentenced later for aiding and abetting him. Police found some of Ms Godfrey’s property at her home.
Police praise victim
North Yorkshire Police praised the courage of victim Helen Godfrey as they welcomed the 11-year sentence for Liam Green.
Ms Godfrey tackled the 21-year-old house raider after he woke her in the middle of the night, York Crown Court heard. Detective Inspector Nigel Costello, of York CID, said: “It has to be recognised how brave Helen was in this case. Not only did she confront Green, she fought with him in her bedroom.
“As a result, to ensure he could escape, Green hit her several times with a hammer he had taken with him and some of the blows connected with her head.
“Despite her injuries, Helen managed bravely to raise the alarm and assisted the police by providing a detailed account of her actions and a description of Green.
“He left Helen knowing she had serious injuries which, for all he knew, could have been life-threatening. But he didn’t care because he was too busy stealing her possessions.
“I hope the sentence brings some comfort to Helen and helps her move on with her life.”
Detective Constable Cheryl Quinn, of York CID, the officer in the case, said: “I am extremely pleased with the sentence imposed on Liam Green. He subjected Helen Godfrey to a violent and terrifying ordeal which left her feeling vulnerable and anxious in her own home.
“Although Helen’s physical scars will always be a reminder of what Green put her through, I hope that this sentence goes some way to rebuilding her confidence and independence.”
In a statement released through the police, Ms Godfrey thanked the entire police investigation team for the professional and dedicated way in which they dealt with the crime and credited their relentless hard work and team effort, which resulted in the successful conviction of Green.