Burglar who assaulted elderly pensioner is jailed

20 Sep 2017 14:00 PM

Lee Cockburn [View Full Size]

A burglar who forced his way into an elderly woman's home before chased off by her neighbours has been jailed.

Lee Scott Cockburn, 40, was already on a life licence when he forced his way into the home of a 83-year-old grandmother on Netherby Drive in Denton.

She answered the door to him just after 11am on on January 4 this year at which point he forced past her and pushed her to the floor.

He then demanded she hand him cash but the elderly woman has called out for help and one of her neighbours has come to her aid.

Upon his arrival, the male neighbour found Cockburn in the hallway and struck him with a hammer before chasing him out of the address.

Police arrived and conducted a search of the area with response officers and the dog section but Cockburn had left the scene.

However, detectives at the Central Burglary Team found a hat that Cockburn left at the scene and DNA from that led them right to his front door. He was arrested three days after the robbery and charged.

He had been released from prison in May, 2010, but was on a life licence after being jailed for 20 years for the murder of father Mick Mchugh, 33, in 1996.

Now Cockburn, of Violet Close, Benwell, has been jailed for seven years and eight months with an extended two years on licence.

Chief Inspector Paul Knox praised officers in the Central Burglary team for their work bringing Cockburn to justice.

He said: "This was a really nasty incident which has seen a cowardly thug target a vulnerable pensioner in her own home.

"He forced his way in and pushed her to the ground and thankfully the victim in the case was not seriously injured in any way.

"If neighbours had not intervened then this incident could have been worse but they were quick on the scene and forced him to flee.

"Our response following that report was excellent and our detectives were very effective in piecing together the information that identified Cockburn as the offender.

"He already has a history of violent behaviour and we are glad that he has been put back behind bars for a significant period of time.

"This man is clearly a danger to society and we are glad to see him off our streets where he cannot cause anymore harm."

Northumbria Police's Central Burglary Team were formed in June 2015  to identify trends and patterns of burglars in the area.

Detectives in the team review every burglary that occurrs within Newcastle and Gateshead to see what preventative measures could be put in place to protect residents in the area.

If you want to report information to them about a suspected burglar then call 101 or report it on the police website. If you find yourself victim to a burglary then always call 999.