Burglar Brian Riddock left OAP terrified
ONE of the region's most prolific burglars is back behind bars after ransacking the home of a deaf 78-year-old widow as she slept.
In 2007 Brian Riddock, 41, was jailed for five years after breaking into more than 200 homes, a number of which belonged to elderly and disabled victims.
At Bristol Crown Court on Friday he was handed a further five and a half years for burgling Bridie Moore's home in Pill.
The court heard that Riddock rifled through a wardrobe next to Mrs Moore's head as well as her husband's belongings which she had left untouched since his death.
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He also stole her wedding, engagement and eternity ring as well as her purse and handbag.
The rings were hugely sentimental because Mrs Moore had lost her church warden husband Bertram five years ago when he died on the bus while on his way to visit her in hospital.
Thankfully because of the swift action of police the items were recovered.
Riddock, of The Witheys, Pill, pleaded guilty to burgling the property, where Mrs Moore has lived for the past 54 years, on May 17 this year.
Judge Michael Roach told him: "The seriousness of what you did is that you went at night to an elderly woman's house and rifled through her treasured possessions while making an untidy search in a property you had burgled before.
"If I describe what you did as miserable it is an apt description. The effect has been profound.
"Why should this woman be frightened to live in her own home because of the likes of you?"
Sian Sullivan, prosecuting, said: "On the day in question Mrs Moore went to bed but woke about 2am. She is deaf and wears a hearing aid but takes it out at night.
"When she woke up she was confused because she saw her wardrobe door by her bed open and some lights on.
"She got up thinking there may be somebody in the house. She went downstairs and found that her wedding ring, eternity ring and engagement ring were gone.
"She also found that her purse was gone and the window open. She was in a state and called police and her daughter. When her daughter arrived she said her mother was shaking and could not understand what had happened.
"She was worried that he would come back and it didn't matter how many times police reassured her."
Miss Sullivan said Mrs Moore was unable to be sure of items that had been taken because since her husband's death she had not slept in their bedroom.
She added: "Police acted quickly and went to a pawn shop in Bedminster with a sketch of the rings drawn by Mrs Moore's daughter and the shopkeeper true to her word alerted police when someone tried to sell them.
"He was identified by CCTV. At 12am the next day he handed himself into the police station and in interview admitted the burglary saying he had needed drugs.
"He also told police if he was not given a prison sentence he would carry on burgling."
The court heard that Riddock helped police locate the rest of the property he had stolen from the house.
A victim impact statement said Mrs Moore was devastated but delighted the property had been recovered.
Miss Sullivan said Riddock was jailed for five years in 2007 for burglary and that some of the victims on those occasions had also been elderly and vulnerable.
Giles Nelson, defending, said although his client's crime was shocking there were mitigating factors.
"He handed himself into the police station, told police were they could recover the rest of the items and pleaded guilty at the first opportunity," Mr Nelson said.
Mr Nelson said his client had started taking heroin and cocaine when he was 18 after falling in with the wrong crowd. But he denied Riddock targeted the elderly, saying: "I would submit that overall he is not somebody who targets elderly people. He is someone that is indiscriminate and it is inevitable that some victims will be elderly."
He said at its worst Riddock's habit cost £300 a day but accepted only an immediate custodial sentence was justified.