A HORRIFIED woman found a burglar armed with a knife lying on her kitchen floor when she got up in the morning during the lockdown, York Crown Court heard. 

Serial house raider Stephen Ambrose Woodall was high on drink or drugs when he broke into the house off Huntington Road, York, at night, said Rob Galley, prosecuting. 

Today he is starting six years in jail, the latest in a series of prison terms for breaking into York homes. 

Woodall, 45, of Clarence Street, central York, pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary of the house and burgling the woman’s shed. 

“It is a wicked looking item and there is no reason to be carrying it,” Judge Simon Hickey said after looking at a picture of the knife. 

He told Woodall: “To her horror and surprise at 8am, she found you effectively unconscious from drink or drugs face down on the kitchen floor.” 

Woodall’s solicitor advocate Mark Partridge said he remembered very little of the incident. 

“The defendant was intoxicated to such an extent to render him unconscious,” said the defence solicitor. 

It had taken him several hours after being woken up to become sober enough to be interviewed by police. 

Mr Galley said the householder went to bed after locking the front door and watching television late into the night on May 29.The back door was unlocked and the property had a rear gate.

The next morning she went downstairs at 8am.

“The defendant, whom she didn’t know, was laid out on the floor face down,” said Mr Galley.  “He was clearly under the influence of something.”

She went to a neighbour for help and police were called.   Officers woke Woodall and found a red-handled knife with a blade about 15cm long by him.  Neither the woman nor her partner recognised it.  In the kitchen were electrical and other items from the woman’s shed.

Mr Partridge said of Woodall: “He didn’t set out with the intention of burgling when he left Clarence Street. He must have taken the knife with him.”

Woodall had an “addictive personality” and for some years had been addicted to heroin, alcohol and drugs available on prescription.  He had health problems linked to the abuse he had suffered as a child, the court heard.

Detective Constable Allison of North Yorkshire Police said: “Being burgled is terrifying and can leave victims frightened for a very long time and I’d like to thank the victims in this case for their support with our investigation.

“I am extremely pleased for them that this ordeal is over and that Woodall has received such a significant sentence for his crimes.”

Woodall had been burgling houses in the York area since 2001 and had served at least four prison sentences for house burglaries.

In 2009, he was on parole from one such sentence when he broke into a family’s house at night, among other burglaries and was jailed for a further four years. He also had a conviction for grievous bodily harm in 1991.