Burglar said she was looking for 'man called Ben'

Kimberley Young Picture: Thames Valley Police <i>(Image: Thames Valley Police)</i>
Kimberley Young Picture: Thames Valley Police (Image: Thames Valley Police)

A repeat burglar broke into a lone woman’s house – then claimed she was looking for a man called Ben.

Kimberley Young’s victim was shocked to see the 51-year-old at her bedroom door on the morning of March 29, Oxford Crown Court heard.

The burglar was said to have apologised and run out of the house in Manor Road, Ducklington. She left the young woman, alone in the house save for her dog, ‘terrified’.

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Just before the police turned up at the west Oxfordshire village, a witness saw Young try a front door handle in Feilden Close.

In a prepared statement read during her police interview, the burglar claimed to have been offered a lift back to Wantage by ‘someone called Ben’ a few days earlier.

She knew ‘Ben’ lived in Ducklington and thought he lived in the first house she had broken into. She tried the door of the second property, ‘believing Ben lived at that address’.

The woman claimed to have had no intention of stealing. Two drawers appeared to have been looked in at the first property, although nothing was taken.

In a victim personal statement summarised to the court by prosecutor Cathy Olliver, the woman who interrupted the thief in Manor Road said she ‘became convinced in her head they wanted to steal her dog’.

She ran a beauty business from her home and was now ‘very anxious’ about who she let into the property, Ms Olliver said. The victim said: “The suspect’s caused me anxiety and influenced both my personal and work life.”

Young, of Claypit Lane, East Challow, pleaded guilty to burglary and attempted burglary.

The court heard Young had 28 offences on her record, including six burglary convictions, with the majority of her offences committed before her gender transition.

She was a ‘third strike’ house burglar, meaning the judge was required by law to impose a minimum three year sentence unless unjust to do so.

Alice Aubrey-Fletcher, mitigating, said Young had stayed out of trouble for the best part of a decade, when she was living in Bristol, doing a job she loved and was clean from the drug problem that had blighted her early life.

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During the pandemic, however, she moved to Oxfordshire to live with a new partner – who was reportedly abusive.

She became increasingly isolated and occasionally used drugs.

Ms Aubrey-Fletcher stressed that nothing was taken in the burglary, although her client accepted by her plea that she had the ‘intention to steal’.

It was accepted she was under the influence on the day of the burglary, having ‘fallen off the waggon’.

Judge Michael Gledhill KC imposed 29 months’ imprisonment. He said of the first victim: “She was utterly terrified, traumatised and shocked.”

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This story was written by Tom Seaward. He joined the team in 2021 as Oxfordshire's court and crime reporter.

To get in touch with him email: Tom.Seaward@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @t_seaward