Home International 93-year-old zips down stairlift to nab burglar

93-year-old zips down stairlift to nab burglar

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When 93-year-old Bernard Smith heard a bump in the night, he decided to investigate ? with the help of his trusty stairlift.

File image. Picture: Pixabay

When 93-year-old Bernard Smith heard a bump in the night, he decided to investigate – with the help of his trusty stairlift.

After descending in the chair, he duly discovered a burglar standing in the kitchen.

The widower tapped the stranger on the shoulder and said ‘hello’, before realising a confrontation might be a bad idea.

He then headed for the front door as quickly as he could to raise the alarm with a neighbour.

The burglar fled the property in York, but left behind a ladies’ glove. DNA analysis helped police to identify serial offender Michael Hester, 46, as the guilty party.

Hester denied the offence but was found guilty by a jury and last week at York Crown Court he was sentenced to two years and six months for burglary.

The court heard that Hester has more than 150 convictions and has been stealing and burgling since he was 14. Passing sentence, Recorder Alistair McDonald QC said: ‘It must have been a horrifying and terrifying ordeal for this gentleman to be put through.’ 

However, Mr Smith insists he was not the slightest bit frightened. Now 95, he recalled the moment in September 2017 that he was awoken in the early hours by a noise downstairs. 

He said yesterday: ‘I thought “that’s a bit odd”, but I wasn’t that worried about it because you hear all kinds of noises in the night.

‘In the end I decided I had better go down and see. So I went down on the stairlift – it makes a bit of a whirring noise – and saw there was a light coming from the kitchen.

‘I know I should have been worried but I went in there and there was a figure with his back towards me. It was then that I tapped him on the shoulder. 

‘He never turned round to look at me and I quickly realised it would be best to go and went out the front door, leaving it open for him to follow.’ He admitted: ‘I couldn’t move very quickly because I’ve got a bad back.’

Mr Smith’s intervention meant the intruder didn’t have time to steal anything before fleeing. 

‘By the time my neighbour went in he had gone,’ he said. ‘I later realised I had a lucky escape and he could have been violent towards me.’ 

Hester refused to comment during police interviews, but investigations showed his mobile phone was in the area near the victim’s home at the time of the burglary – exposing a false alibi that he was in a hotel at the time.

Outside court, Dave Pegg, of North Yorkshire Police, said: ‘This was an appalling crime committed on an elderly man who was targeted for his vulnerability. Many people think that the police just aren’t bothered about burglary – but that is not the case and this case demonstrates the lengths we will go to identify offenders and bring them to justice.’


© Daily Mail