An ex-conman has been sentenced to three years and two months in prison after being convicted of burglary and common assault.
The court heard that shortly after 6pm on 23 August 2016, John Benson, 50, took his partner’s Fiat 500 without her permission.
He drove it to Heron Court, Salford, where he broke-in and woke the occupant by entering her bedroom.
Benson was then chased out of the house by the occupant’s grandson who eventually caught and punched him.
Benson then pulled a screwdriver from a bag and threatened the man before fleeing towards a main road.
Benson ran into traffic and collided with a car, sustaining injuries to his face and neck, before making his escape in the Fiat.
He was later arrested in February 2017, six months after the incident took place.
Before sentencing, the court was told that the incident caused the elderly victim severe distress and affected her nerves since she had been the victim of another burglary recently.
Counsel for the Defence, Mr Wild, in asking Judge John Potter for leniency in sentencing, said: “The defendant has an appalling record of burglary.
“Benson has no sympathy for himself and the predicament for which he finds himself in. He has let his partner down appallingly and he wants to put his life back on track.”
Benson admitted taking his partner’s car without permission but maintained that he intended to return it. The charge of taking a vehicle without consent was subsequently dismissed.
Despite CCTV footage showing Benson being chased by the grandson of the occupant of Heron Court, he denied the burglary, claiming that he was only there to rummage in rubbish bins and skips for disposed items he could make use of.
Mr Potter, in sentencing Benson, commended him for admitting to taking his partner’s car without permission and accepted that no possessions were taken during the bungled burglary.
Mr Potter then emphasised that Benson’s ‘appalling history’ of burglary, including 85 previous offences on record, would have to been taken into consideration regarding sentencing.
Benson was sentenced to three-years and two-months, of which he will serve half.
Mr Potter said: “This is a sentence of three years; you know this because of your previous convictions. You received an eight year sentence for burglary in the past.”
This was a reference to a 2009 case in which Benson was convicted of stealing from 59 elderly people, with an average age of 86, by pretending to be from the ‘water board’.
He was released in 2014 after serving six years of an eight-year sentence.
His victims spanned Bury, Whitefield, Offerton, Sale, Altrincham and Leigh, and he was only caught after a tenacious detective took a sample from a bead of sweat that had dripped onto the wheelchair of a 72-year-old victim.
The sample was examined for DNA which led to the identification, arrest and conviction of the serial conman.