Jail for burglar who preyed on elderly in Burnley

Leon Slattery
Leon Slattery

A CONVICTED sex attacker who tried to sneak into vulnerable pensioners’ homes in Burnley to steal, struck three times in half-an-hour, a court heard.

Drunken Leon Slattery (24) targeted sheltered accommodation and had a record for picking on the elderly.

Slattery had downed a litre of vodka, with orange, after visiting his daughter and was carrying a bag of alcohol. He told one victim he was from the council and claimed he was looking for a friend when another challenged him as he stood in her porch. The women were left frightened by his actions.

Burnley Crown Court was told the defendant, who was on a community order at the time, also had convictions for being a conman and had run a scam collecting window cleaning money. In 2002, he was jailed for five years for indecent assault in the town.

The defendant, originally from Burnley, but now living in Montrose Close, Blackburn, admitted burglary and two charges of attempted burglary, last June 3rd. He was jailed for 18 months.

Judge Jonathan Gibson told the defendant he had made serious and significant efforts to put his past behind him and to accept help but custody was inevitable.

Slattery was also given an indefinite restraining order, banning him from the area where the victims lived and from contacting them. He will be allowed to go into Turf Moor, via Brunshaw Road.

Mr Jonathan Dickinson (prosecuting) said at 8-30 p.m., a man was visiting his 85-year-old mother, when Slattery entered the property.

The defendant claimed he was “looking for Dorothy”, was told nobody of that name was there and left. The son said Slattery must have opened the door slowly and carefully, to avoid the wind chimes sounding.

Mr Dickinson said about 15 minutes later, Slattery opened the back door of a woman’s bungalow nearby but it was on a chain. When the victim, who was expecting her son as it was her 71st birthday, asked what he was doing, he claimed he was from the council, checking that she was all right. She asked for identification and he left. She called the police and later picked him out on an identity parade.

Slattery then moved onto another victim and was challenged when she found him in her porch. He asked her if Danny Thompson lived there, picked up his carrier bag and left. He was arrested at 8-50 p.m, in Holcombe Drive, admitted he had been to the properties and alleged he had been looking for a friend.

The hearing was told Slattery had a record going back to 1999, which included dishonesty and burglary. He was sentenced for fraud after he claimed to be collecting money for a window cleaner.

The defendant had pleaded guilty on the basis he had been searching for a childhood friend. He said he had had a litre of vodka and was very drunk. He accepted when he tried the doors of the victims, he did so with the intention of stealing.

Miss Katie Jones (defending) said he appreciated the offences passed the custody threshold.

The barrister said: “He appreciates now the effects his behaviour on that day had on the women whose addresses he went to.”

Miss Jones said Slattery’s actions did not appear to be particularly sophisticated and he was easily identifiable, as he was carrying a white carrier bag with vodka and orange in it and wearing a white jacket.

She urged the court to pass a suspended sentence and added: “He is living a structured and useful life and is making every effort to put his past, which he recognises to be, frankly, reprehensible, behind him.”