A DISTRACTION burglar snared by his own fingerprints after stealing an elderly woman's £35k collection of jewellery after promising to carry out work in her garden has been jailed for over five years.
Daniel O'Donnell, 30, of no fixed abode, turned up at a 70-year-old woman's address on Leaford Avenue in Denton and offered to carry out work for £250.
Instead, the woman was distracted in the kitchen and in the back garden before going into the house and stealing two safes containing approximately £35,000 worth of jewellery and cash.
The victim said the burglary had “completely ruined her life” and had “taken away any confidence I had about living on my own”.
O'Donnell knocked on the woman's door on November 11, 2020 at 11am and offered to sort out her garden which was very overgrown but tricked his way into her house after claiming her chimney was leaking.
The victim showed the 30-year-old a cupboard where the chimney breast was, but O'Donnell quickly discovered two safes in the same cupboard.
While the woman was distracted outside, O'Donnell swept in and stole two safes that contained a large amount of jewellery and cash, along with her handbag containing her purse, cash and bank cards.
These were all loaded into a green wheelie bin and dragged down her drive under the disguise that he was "moving it out of the way".
Officers received a report shortly afterwards after the woman noticed that her belongings - including £35k worth of jewellery which she collected and repaired as a hobby for many years - had been taken.
Following a forensic examination, a fingerprint on the back door was found to be O'Donnell's and he was arrested on April 23, 2021.
The victim said: "This burglary has completely ruined my life. Not only has it taken away my sense of security in my own home and taken away any confidence I had about living on my own, but financially it has left me thousands of pounds down, without my hobby and only thing I enjoy doing - collecting and fixing jewellery.”
She added: "I've collected Jewellery since I was a child. This collection, although it was valued at tens of thousands of pounds, meant so much more to me. It was everything. I live alone and don’t have family but used my hobby to pass the time and to occupy me. I feel like someone who has been left with nothing and without any happiness."
O'Donnell was sentenced at Bolton Crown Court on December 14 after pleading guilty to burglary.
He was also sentenced for an assault and stalking a woman where he punched her around 30 to 40 times and continued to message and stalk her afterwards.
Rick Beswick, from GMP's Tameside district, said: "O'Donnell is a callous individual that not only assaulted a woman and stalked her - leaving her extremely fearful - but targeted an elderly woman in her own home.
"The elderly woman has been left shaken and upset since the incident occurred and all of the jewellery she's had and collected since a teenager - including family air looms - has gone at the hands of him.
"After we received the report, we started to piece the case together and have now brought him to justice and put him where he belongs - behind bars."