He knocked on the door of an 83-year-old man claiming to have been assaulted and asking for help. But he repaid the kindness of the elderly stranger, who allowed him into his home, by dashing upstairs and stealing from him.
And today, father-of-five James Wallace is behind bars. Wallace knocked the door to the victim with a bleeding nose, claiming he had been assaulted, asking for help, a court was told. The man ‘felt sorry for him’ and showed Wallace inside his house, in Powis Avenue, Tipton, at around 6.40pm on July 11 last year.
But within moments Wallace had dashed upstairs when realising his elderly victim was unable to follow and forced open a wardrobe and rifled through a draw.
Wolverhampton Crown Court heard Wallace stole a £5 note and three £1 coins from the top draw of a bedroom unit before making his way downstairs with a towel to mop up his bleeding nose.
Judge John Wait condemned Wallace, 43, of Greenacres Park, Market Harborough, Leicester, who had a criminal record with 13 thefts or similar offences to his name.
He sentenced him to three-and-a-half years in jail after Wallace pleaded guilty to a charge of burglary on the day of his trial.
Judge Wait told him: “A kindly old man offered you the help you needed. You went in, saw his age, saw his difficulties and you decided to turn on him and refuse his kindness. You took advantage of his vulnerability and went upstairs as you were confident he would not follow you.
“It has changed his life and he has lost trust in people.”
Miss Sally Cairns, prosecuting, said: “The man did not know the defendant but felt sorry for him and let him in.
“Both of the men went into the kitchen initially. But the defendant went upstairs without permission.”
She said after Wallace had left the victim called his daughter who arrived shortly afterwards and they contacted police.
Police were able to trace Wallace through DNA in his blood taken from samples in the house, the court heard.
Miss Sally Partridge, defending Wallace, said the burglary had been a ‘spur of the moment’ decision and was unplanned.
She added: “He has, for a long time, had a problem with alcohol. He has expressed great remorse to me today.”
She says Wallace hoped to join his brother’s paving business in Leicestershire.