A serial housebreaker who left a trail of blood in the snow after smashing his way into a Perth woman’s flat was caught red-handed by police.
Simon O’Neill crawled through the bathroom window of a property in the city’s Riggs Road and made off with a haul of random items including a guitar, chocolates and a TV remote control.
The 42-year-old was tracked down by officers within minutes when they followed a bloody trail and footprints coming from the property.
Injured O’Neill, of Greyfriars House, told police not to bother calling in forensic officers, because the blood was obviously his.
Fiscal depute Michael Sweeney said O’Neill was spotted going into the empty ground-floor flat on January 13, by a neighbour.
“At about 10.20pm, a witness was in her home address when she heard a large smash, consistent with the sound of glass smashing.
“She attended at the rear of her property and looked out to see the accused leaning into a smashed window.
“He appeared to be moving glass around to make space.
“She continued to watch him as he went through the window and into the property.”
Police were called and officers rushed to the scene.
The witness told them O’Neill had just walked around the corner onto Whitefriars Street.
“Officers gave chase, following a blood trail and footprints in the snow,” said Mr Sweeney.
“The accused was traced and appeared to have an injury to his hand. He was cautioned and arrested at about 10.40pm.”
Mr Sweeney said: “The officers walked back with the accused to the police vehicle, parked at the front of the property.
“The witness identified the accused as the same man she had seen at the window.”
Police found a guitar, a black bag containing chocolate and a quantity of tools on a step at the back of the building.
“The rear bathroom window was observed to have been shattered, and there was blood present on the window sill,” said Mr Sweeney.
The court heard the flat was empty at the time of the theft.
Its tenant later confirmed to police that she had left at around 6pm that evening.
“She searched the flat and found that a pair of sunglasses were unaccounted for,” said Mr Sweeney.
They were found, alongside a stolen TV remote control, by a neighbour.
‘Breadcrumbs trail’ for the police
O’Neill was taken to Perth Royal Infirmary for treatment to a “superficial” injury to his hand.
“He was then conveyed to Perth police station and taken into custody,” said Mr Sweeney.
Solicitor Billy Somerville said: “He was certainly under the influence at the time.
“He had left blood all over the place, leaving a breadcrumbs trail for the police.
“And he told them at a very early stage not to bother having the blood analysed. It was clearly his.”
Mr Somerville said O’Neill had witnessed violence in his family, which may have left him with PTSD.
Sheriff William Wood told O’Neill: “I cannot see any alternative to a custodial sentence.
“You are a persistent thief and you have been given countless opportunities to break that cycle, but you have still carried on with your offending.”
He said: “I understand that you have issues, but you could have addressed those issues at any time. You’re no spring chicken.
“The public needs to be protected.”
O’Neill was remanded in custody and sentence was deferred until July 28.