A man has been jailed for burgling the home of a trainee nun just an hour after she took pity on him and gave him £20.

Leeds Crown Court heard Liam Higham knocked on the door of his victim in Blacker Road, Birkby, around 5.30pm on December 14 last year with a story about his sick mother.

He was not known to her but said he needed money to visit his ill mother in hospital.

Eleanor Fry, prosecuting, told the court yesterday the trainee nun, who did a lot of charity work, felt sympathy for him and gave him £20 telling him: “Consider this to be a Christmas present but don’t come back as I can’t give you any more.”

He left but about an hour later he returned and asked to come in for a chat. She said ‘no’ but he then asked to borrow £60 and was again told no.

When she tried to close the door he blocked her closing it and forced his way in past her. When she said she was going to call the police he told her not to be silly and still would not leave.

The complainant said later that Higham was not shouting or being aggressive but kept telling her to put the phone down even when she was calling the police saying: “Don’t be stupid.”

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Eventually he did go but stole a bag containing boots and other sports equipment worth around £80.

Miss Fry said Higham had visited another property as well telling them he needed to visit his mother in hospital but the woman who answered the door there thought he appeared under the influence of something and “gave him short shrift.”

He was subsequently arrested and on March 29 failed to turn up at the crown court for a sentencing hearing.

Jeremy Barton, representing him, said he had shown his sincere remorse by an early guilty plea and fortunately the victim of the burglary was not harmed or injured.

He could remember little of events because of alcohol and drug taking as a result of issues in his life at that time but accepted he had taken advantage of her generosity “something the defendant regrets.”

Since his remand in custody he had made inroads into dealing with some of his issues by attending courses.

Higham, 26 of Rook Street, Huddersfield who admitted burglary and failing to attend court was jailed for 13 months.

Recorder Sara Dodd said while it was his first offence of burglary he had a record of dishonesty offences and said of his victim: “It must have been a very unsettling time for her, a man under the influence of drugs and drink barging his way into her home on a dark winter’s evening.”