A hapless housebreaker who was caught red-handed after leaving a tell-tale blood trail from a Perth woman’s flat has been jailed for 21 months.
Simon O’Neill slashed his hand as he crawled through a broken window at a property in the city’s Riggs Road.
He left a bloody trail as he searched around the flat, before making off with a random haul of items including a guitar, chocolates and a TV remote control.
The 42-year-old was caught minutes later, after police followed the blood spatter through the snow.
Injured O’Neill, of Greyfriars House, told police not to bother calling in forensic officers because the blood they were following was so obviously his.
Appalling criminal record
Sheriff William Wood told him: “You will appreciate you have an appalling record, mainly for crimes of dishonesty but also for housebreaking.
“This was an intrusive offence and would have been very distressing for the woman whose flat you broke into, who came home to find items had been taken and your blood all over the place.
“Because of your record and the frequency of offending, a custodial sentence is the only option.”
O’Neill was jailed for a total of 640 days and will be placed on supervision for eight months when he is released from prison.
No memory of crime
Solicitor Linda Clark said O’Neill is being assessed for possible post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which he may have suffered as a result of witnessing violence at his family home.
“He can’t remember the housebreaking given the substances he had taken.
“He said he pled guilty because he needs to take responsibility for his actions and the trouble he had caused.
“There’s no attempt by Mr O’Neill to dodge a bullet here.”
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.”
Blood trail and footprints
Mr Sweeney said: “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.
“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.
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.