Thief who killed pensioner jailed

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a man who killed an elderly woman during a burglary at her home on New Year’s Day has been jailed for 12 years.

Peter Anthony John Harris, 33, pushed his way into the house of Elsie Mowbray, 87, after he claimed to be looking for his rabbit.

Harris made his way upstairs and was disturbed by the pensioner’s son at her home in Victoria Court, in York.

Harris struggled with Ms Mowbray’s son before forcing his way past the pensioner.

She hit her head on the wall with such force that it left a dent in the plaster work.

Ms Mowbray was then taken to York Hospital and she died just over a week later on January 8.

Following the burglary, Harris then made his way into York and to a flat in Turpin Court where he asked the occupants if he could enter the property, saying he needed some money because the police were looking for him.

When the man refused Harris then barged his way in and stole money from a wallet, a watch and a tin containing £40 which was being saved for a 16-month-old baby girl who was in the house at the time of the robbery.

North Yorkshire Police officers found Harris hiding in the base of a divan bed later that day at his home on Apollo Street.

He was wearing the watch that was stolen during the robbery at Turpin Court.

Mr Justice Lindbolm sentenced Harris to 12 years behind bars at Leeds Crown Court yesterday.

He was handed eight years and nine months for the manslaughter of Elsie Mowbray and four years for the burglary to run concurrently.

He was also jailed for three years and three months to run consecutively for the robbery at Turpin Court.

Det Sup Heather Pearson from North Yorkshire Police said: “Peter Harris knew his victim was an elderly, defenceless woman when she answered the door to him.

“He showed no regard for her when he entered her property and has subsequently shown no remorse.

“As a result of his actions, an otherwise fit and healthy lady has had her life cut short and a family has lost a loved one in tragic circumstances.”

A statement from Elsie Mowbray’s family paid tribute to the efforts of the police and said: “The crime committed by Peter Harris caused the death of a gentle old lady and nothing can bring her back, but we hope today’s proceedings can draw a line and our family can start to look ahead to the future and find some peace.

“We would like to thank North Yorkshire Police for their superb efforts to bring justice to the perpetrator of these crimes as well as their support during this difficult time.”