Dynasty star Stephanie Beacham struggled learning lines after ‘terrifying’ raid
Dynasty star Stephanie Beacham has said she no longer feels safe in her cottage and has struggled to learn her lines after being threatened with a two-foot metal bar in a “terrifying” armed raid.
The 75-year-old actress, who starred alongside Dame Joan Collins in the hit 1980s series, was ordered to hand over her money and jewellery after confronting David Wilson, 57, after he broke into her home in Bayswater, west London.
Wilson, described as a “habitual career burglar”, was armed with a “jemmy” – a bar with a claw at the end – which he raised in a striking motion before telling Ms Beacham: “Don’t look at me.”
Prosecutor John Traversi told Southwark Crown Court: “During the course of this incident, which was terrifying for Ms Beacham, when in the circumstances of which she found herself, she had real fears for her life.”
Wilson, originally from Glasgow, was jailed for a total of 10 years and five months on Wednesday after pleading guilty to aggravated burglary over the raid on October 25 last year as well as a separate burglary in Sheffield on May 5, 2021 .
Judge Martin Griffiths said: “What you did had a traumatic effect on her.
“You violated the safe space of her home causing her to be suspicious of non-existent threats and even the difficulty of learning her lines when she goes for an acting job.”
Ms Beacham, who returned to Coronation Street as Martha Fraser last year – more than 12 years after last appearance on the ITV soap – described the raid as a “total violation of my privacy”.
Reading from her victim statement, Mr Traversi said: “She says what she had considered her very safe, cosy, cottage no longer feels safe.
The prosecutor described an incident where Ms Beacham thought she heard a noise upstairs when she had come home and got her neighbour to stand at the door while she checked.
“Ms Beacham had a knife in her hand and didn’t even realise this. She didn’t know what she would’ve done, if anything,” he said.
“She had to ask her partner to come and get cash out of a cashpoint and felt herself being more aware of people in the streets and making more of a conscious effort to avoid contact with others.
“She found it very hard to learn her lines. She is an actor.
“She found it hard to concentrate and without the support of those at work with her, she thought she may have difficulty fulfilling her contract.
“She was frightened to return home, which she had always considered as her safe place.
“She considered herself strong mentally but it made her feel old and vulnerable.”
The court heard Ms Beacham has doubled her sleep medication, has nightmares and panic attacks and no longer walks her dog after dark.
“She has had mental holographic images of the defendant standing at the end of the bed with the weapon in his hand,” Mr Traversi added.
He said CCTV footage shows Wilson with his jemmy before climbing up and using the tool to open a Velux window to break into Ms Beacham’s home.
“Stephanie Beacham was upstairs at her home in London, the Bayswater area, when she heard a noise downstairs,” he said.
“She began to descend the stairs, calling out, ‘who’s that?’ And she sees the defendant standing at the bottom of the staircase.
“He ran up towards her holding up to her face what he saw as a metal bar with a claw at the end, some two feet in length, and what she described as undoubtedly a jemmy, as used by burglars since time immemorial to gain access to properties and steal therein.
“When he came up the stairs she had her phone in her hand.
“He told her to drop it and to get upstairs.
“She did as she was ordered and went to the bathroom.
“He then said to her, ‘give me your money’, and she emptied her wallet.
“Not satisfied with that, he said, ‘That’s not your money’ and went on to tell her, ‘give me your jewellery’.
“She took a silver bracelet from her wrist and gave it to him.”
The court heard Wilson then saw an oriental chest and said: “There’s your jewellery,” before using his jemmy to pry it open and sift through the contents.
“He turned to Ms Beacham and held the bar up in line with his head in a striking motion and said, ‘don’t look at me’.
“She bravely enough replied she was not looking at him. He then said, ‘I wish you weren’t here,’ telling her again to stop looking at him and sending her into the bathroom.”
The court heard she locked herself in the bathroom and called the police once he had gone outside.
Wilson also made off with her iPhone, purse containing bank cards and driving licence and a pair of earrings.
Ms Beacham made her film debut in 1971′s The Nightcomers with Marlon Brando, and also later starred in Dynasty spin-off The Colbys as glamorous Sable Colby.
Wilson also admitted a separate burglary at an elderly woman’s home in Sheffield, while she was in hospital, in which he stole the 1985 paraplegic snooker championship medal, a step ladder and a mattress.
He has 64 previous convictions, including 34 for burglary or attempted burglary and two convictions for aggravated burglary.
Claire Mawer, defending, said her client had been addicted to crack cocaine and heroin since the age of 15, had written a letter in which he said: “What I did was so wrong and I understand the effect my offending had.”