A BURGLAR who stole a carriage clock from an 81-year-old woman has been jailed for what a judge called a “despicable” crime.

Ashley Jeacock, of Pembroke Way, Bicester, admitted carrying out the offence on February 5 of last year.

Iain Wicks, prosecuting, said the 41-year-old targeted the home of Barbara Thorne, who he knew through a friendship with her son.

He told Judge Patrick Eccles that Jeacock appeared at his victim’s back door uninvited and insisted on being let into the house, on the pretence of looking for her son who was not at home.

The barrister said the defendant spent around half an hour walking around Mrs Thorne’s home picking up items, despite her repeated requests for him to leave.

Mr Wicks said that after Jeacock left, his victim realised that a carriage clock had been stolen from her front room.

He said: “This incident has left her quite clearly unsettled and worried about being in her own home.

“Her family now takes it in turns to stay with her so she does not have to be alone.”

Mr Wicks said Jeacock had a history of violent and dishonest offences, including one burglary, but had never been in the crown court before.

Jennifer Edwards, defending, said her client had developed a “spiralling reliance on drugs” after the deaths of his mother and brother.

Yesterday at Oxford Crown Court Judge Eccles told him: “This was a mean and despicable offence aggravated by the fact that the victim was an 81-year-old diabetic woman living alone.”

He sentenced Jeacock to two-and-a-half years in prison and said he would have to pay a £120 victims’ surcharge.