Couple took refuge as
home was ransacked

Paul Dawson, 37, of Illingworth Avenue, Illingworth, Halifax, who was jailed for three and a half years after pleading guilty to burglary at Bradford Crown Court.

Paul Dawson, 37, of Illingworth Avenue, Illingworth, Halifax, who was jailed for three and a half years after pleading guilty to burglary at Bradford Crown Court.

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A couple who took refuge in their bathroom during a terrifying burglary have now had to leave their Halifax flat.

The married couple were asleep in bed last October when their home in South Selby, Illingworth, was attacked by drugged-up Paul Dawson and his then girlfriend Emma Mason.

30-year-old Emma Mason, of Grove Drive, Halifax, who was jailed for three and a half years after pleading guilty to burglary at Bradford Crown Court.

30-year-old Emma Mason, of Grove Drive, Halifax, who was jailed for three and a half years after pleading guilty to burglary at Bradford Crown Court.

Bradford Crown Court heard how the terrified occupants ran to the bathroom as their front door was kicked in at about 2am.

Prosecutor Geraldine Kelly said they locked themselves in the bathroom as the two defendants ransacked the living room.

During the break-in the intruders stole a television, which was later recovered, and a lap-top which has never been found.

Dawson, 37, of Illingworth Avenue, Illingworth, and 30-year-old Mason, of Grove Drive, Halifax, were arrested shortly after the burglary, but they only admitted the offence when their case was listed for a trial last month.

The court heard that they had both been on remand in custody for the last five months.

Their barristers said they now expressed remorse for the offence and wanted to apologise to the victims.

Recorder Graham Hyland QC was told that the occupants of the flat had now been rehomed in the aftermath of the burglary.

Dawson’s barrister Adam Birkby said his client was high on drugs and had been drinking heavily at the time of the burglary. Mr Birkby submitted that it was a spur of the moment offence but he conceded that the victims had had to move out as a result.

Mason’s barrister Nikki Peers said she had suffered from alcohol and drug addiction but while on remand she had reflected on her behaviour.

‘’She has offered to write to the victims to apologise for her behaviour,’’ said Miss Peers.

Sentencing both defendants to three-and-a-half years in prison, Recorder Hyland said they must have anticipated that the occupants of the flat would have been in bed.

“Absolutely terrified, as both of them were, they fled into the bathroom of their home and called the police,’’ said the judge.

“Once you had gained entry you ransacked that room and valuable items were taken. You caused extensive damage to the property particularly to the doors and windows.

“This was a traumatic event for both of the householders. It is so serious an offence that only a substantial custodial sentence can be justified.’’

The judge told Mason: “You, in common with your co-defendant Dawson, blame alcohol and drug abuse as the reason why you committed this offence.

‘’You understand of course that provides you with no excuse whatsoever for what you did.’’

The judge accepted that they both now expressed remorse for the offence, but noted that their only mitigation was their guilty plea and he reduced the prison term from four years to three and a half to reflect their admission of guilt albeit on the day of trial.

Detective Chief Inspector Terry Long, Crime Manager for Calderdale Police, said: “Burglary can have a devastating impact on people and dealing with it is one of our top priorities.

“Thankfully burglary rates remain low across Calderdale but where it does occur we will do all we can to bring offenders to justice. Dawson and Mason now have time in prison to consider the consequences of their actions and I am pleased they have both been brought to justice.”