Burglar’s threats to infect with HIV

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A CAREER criminal was wrestled to the ground by a householder despite threatening to infect him with the HIV virus.

William Smith, aged 46, had only been released from prison for a week when he broke into a home in Watkin Terrace, The Mounts on June 23.

Still using methadone and with nowhere to live, he returned to a life of crime, stealing £5,500 of property including jewellery.

But the householder came home while he was still inside and chased him onto the Racecourse and tackled him.

Stuart Yeung, prosecuting, said Smith told him: “There’s your stuff, now let me go” but was punched in the face and detained while the police were called by a passer-by. However, Smith made threats to stab him and tried to bite his captor, threatening to infect him with HIV.

While officers retrieved the hammer he had used to break into the property nearby, Smith threatened to exact revenge when released from prison.

The court heard Smith, of no fixed address, has convictions for 460 offences and had only been released from prison the previous week.

Judge Richard Bray said: “You struggled with the occupier when he was brave enough to tackle you and you made unpleasant threats to him.

“This matter is aggravated by your appalling record. The courts have tried to help you in the past.

“I appreciate you are subject to what could be called the revolving door – released into the community at the earliest possible moment with nowhere settled to live and no support for drugs rehabilitation. What you need now is a period in prison long enough to became free from drugs and receive some rehabilitation. If we were to work out what you have cost the state, it would be enormous.”

Smith, who pleaded guilty to burglary, was sentenced to three-and-a-half years’ imprisonment.

Andrew Howarth, mitigating, said Smith’s troubled childhood had led to “a downward spiral of drugs and alcohol”.