South West Wales

Jail for Swansea burglar, who tricked girl, six, into helping her take laptop

A burglar who persuaded a six-year-old girl to break into a house by pretending she had lost her keys, has been jailed for 20 months.

Karen Richards offered to pay the girl to climb through a conservatory window as a favour, Swansea Crown Court heard.

When the girl could not unlock the front door, Richards, 23, from Swansea, asked her to pass a laptop out.

A jury took 10 minutes to convict Richards of abducting the girl. She had admitted burglary.

Prosecutor Brian Simpson said the girl - who cannot be named for legal reasons - was playing outside a friend's house in August last year when Richards said she had left her keys inside.

She then helped the girl through an open conservatory window, the court heard.

He added: "She asked if the girl could unlock the front door for her but the girl couldn't, so Richards asked if she could pass her a laptop out.

DNA

"The girl did so and Richard's helped the girl out and walked away and the girl carried on playing.

"Karen Richards didn't live in the house, she used the girl to get into the property and steal the laptop."

Richards was arrested after her DNA was found on a screwdriver left at the scene in Vincent Street, the jury was told.

In her defence, Richards claimed the child wanted to help and was not held against her will, but the jury rejected this.

Judge Christopher Clee QC said: "You used a little girl to break into a property but without any thought to the danger that could have befallen her."