Hapless Gosport burglar who broke into a disabled pensioner's home is jailed

A FORMER greenkeeper who was whacked on the head by a golf ball swung back into a life of crime to burgle a disabled pensioner – even stopping to ask his bed-bound victim where her handbag was during the terrifying nighttime raid.

Thursday, 21st November 2019, 12:57 pm
Updated Sunday, 24th November 2019, 4:18 pm
Shamed ex-Stokes Bay Golf Course employee Carl Howells, 41, of Pavilion Way, Gosport, has been jailed for breaking into the home of a disabled pensioner. Photo: Hampshire police

Shamed ex-Stokes Bay Golf Course employee Carl Howells, 41, lost his job after being unable to work having been ‘struck on the head’ by a stray ball.

The incident was the catalyst for events that ultimately landed Howells in jail after the desperate offender attempted to hack his way out of trouble after 21 years of abstinence from crime.

Portsmouth Crown Court heard how drug addict Howells, of Pavilion Way, Gosport, targeted a disabled elderly woman in the town who needed treatment from carers four times a day.

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The petrified victim was awoken on August 10 at 2am after hearing Howells break-in and rummaging around before a bizarre exchange. ‘You said you were looking for her handbag before the lady said she “didn’t have one”. You then replied: “I don’t believe you”’, recorder John Williams, recounting the incident, said.

But hapless Howells, who stole a radio and clothes, forgot his mobile phone leading to police later confirming his identity via a DNA match.

The victim said of the impact on her: ‘Every time I now hear a creak I panic. I hope the court does me justice and gives me peace of mind.’

Two days later Howells continued his ill-fated ambush in Gosport when he burgled Bostin Choice Cafe where he stole items and cash amounting to £660. But, again, the absent-minded offender left a trail with his blood left at the scene of the crime.

‘This is the first time we’ve started a business and this has made us feel very uncertain about the future,’ the owner of the shop said in a statement read out to the court.

After arresting Howells, police found a charity tin box with £3 inside at his address that had been stolen from Subway in Gosport on August 11.

Rob Harding, defending, revealed Howells’ below-par behaviour began when the errant ball smacked his head. ‘It was another straw on the donkey’s back,’ he said. ‘He was struck on the head by the golf ball leading to fears he had a tumour,’ he said.

‘Unfortunately the job was not left open and he relapsed due to his desperate circumstances.’

During the mitigation recorder Williams interjected to observe that Howells was ‘not a burglar per se’ with his deviance borne out of addiction.

Recorder Mr Williams turned down an appeal to suspend the sentence. Speaking to Howells, he said: ‘You burgled an elderly lady who was bed-bound and needing regular care who could not do anything physically to stop you. It must have been ghastly. She now struggles to sleep and breathe and is very frightened.’

Recorder Williams then jailed Howells, who admitted one count of theft and two burglary charges, to jail for 32 months.

As he was taken down, Howells gave a knowing shrug of the shoulders and a thumbs up to his barrister for his efforts.