Burglar who trapped OAP in basement jailed

F30-2015 Thomas Joseph McDonagh

A burglar who locked a 90-year-old man in his own basement has been jailed for four years. 

Thomas Joseph McDonagh, 45 of no fixed abode was sentenced at Isleworth Crown Court on Wednesday, after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing at the same court.

The court heard that on December 4 of last year, at about 12:30pm, the 90-year-old victim answered a knock at the front door of his Fulham home.

The man calling was McDonagh, who introduced himself as a workman. He said there was a problem with the local water supply. As the pensioner was blocking the doorway, McDonagh placed both his hands on the victim’s chest and pushed him into the hallway and then McDonagh entered the house.

He asked the victim where the water supply was, and upon being told it was in the basement, he ordered the victim to go into the basement and check the temperature of the pipes.

Just wanting the suspect to leave and with mounting fear, the victim went into the basement and checked the water pipes. He then tried to get out, but found the door had been locked from the outside.

The victim was trapped for several minutes but eventually managed to ‘slip’ the lock and escape from the basement. He noticed that several items of his property had been piled near the bottom of the stairs.

He then saw McDonagh come hurrying down the stairs. McDonagh pushed the 90-year-old against a wall and ran off without taking the property with him.

The victim followed McDonagh into the street shouting loudly for someone to help him stop the suspect.

A local workman heard the shouts and noted down the index of the white van McDonagh was driving.

A police investigation began and a forensic sample identified Thomas McDonagh as the suspect.

Officers began enquires to find McDonagh and stopped him in Hayes in a white van on December 18.

He  was arrested on suspicion of burglary and was later picked out by a witness at an identity parade. He was subsequently charged with one count of burglary.

Officer in the case Detective Constable Andy Griffin of Hammersmith and Fulham Police said: “This man preyed on an elderly and vulnerable man and locked the victim up in his own home, it was a despicable crime.”

“The victim showed amazing courage during the burglary and I would like to pay tribute to him and those who came to his aid.

“This case highlights the importance of checking who someone is before you open the door and let them get inside your property.”

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