Burglar ‘deserves’ seven year jail term

Sean Michael Kelly
Sean Michael Kelly

A burglar, who inflicted ‘everybody’s nightmare’ on a terrified couple when he and an accomplice raided their home, has been told by top judges he deserved every day of his jail term.

Sean Michael Kelly of Liversedge and another masked raider broke into the couple’s home in Birstall, and threatened them at knifepoint, before ransacking upstairs where their one-year-old child was sleeping.

Kelly, caught after a trace of his blood was found in the house, was jailed for seven years at Leeds Crown Court last October, after admitting aggravated burglary.

The 28-year-old, of Mark Street, this week challenged his sentence at London’s Criminal Appeal Court, with his lawyers arguing it was ‘too long’ for his crime. But his appeal was dismissed by three of the country’s most senior judges, who said the ‘significant trauma’ suffered by the occupants justified the stiff sentence.

The court heard Kelly and his accomplice threw a brick through a window at the couple’s home at about 3am on December 22, 2011. Kelly was masked and carrying a metal bar, while the other man wore a hood and armed himself with a carving knife from the kitchen.

The terrified couple tried to barricade themselves into the living room, but the burglars kicked their way through and threatened them, demanding valuables. Kelly then went looking around the house and the female victim grew fearful for her child, who was sleeping upstairs, as she heard banging on the youngster’s bedroom door.

The other intruder kept guard over the couple, threatening to stab the man and to slash the woman’s throat, before punching the man three times in the throat.

When the woman tried to intervene, she was struck on the face and arm with the metal bar by Kelly, who had returned from upstairs.

The raiders then left, having taken a wallet and purse which were dumped on the road outside.

His lawyers argued the crown court judge was wrong to assess the offence as being in the most serious category for burglary and said his sentence should be reduced to four years.

But, dismissing the appeal, Judge Peter Thornton QC said the crime deserved the higher jail term. He added: “This must have been a terrifying ordeal for the occupants. They were attacked in their home, weapons, threats and violence were used, while their young child was upstairs.

“Greater harm is indicated by the victims being present in the house and the significant psychological injury or other significant trauma they must have suffered in addition to the violence used and threats involving weapons.”