Devon

Shovel burglar Sean Garrod jailed indefinitely

A burglar who "felled" an elderly cancer patient with a shovel has been jailed indefinitely.

When a second pensioner tried to stop Sean Garrod escaping, he was bitten.

Garrod, 22, of Knights Mead, Chudleigh Knighton, who had denied aggravated burglary and two assaults causing actual bodily harm, was found guilty at an earlier hearing.

The recorder at Exeter Crown Court said Garrod posed a "high risk" and could not apply for parole for six years.

The court was told 70-year-old Daniel Hocking, who still had stitches in his stomach after a cancer operation, was sitting down to watch a rugby match on television when Garrod smashed his way into his home in Newton Abbot in March.

'Very brave men'

He had planned a revenge attack on Mr Hocking's grandson Daniel Steer, following an earlier incident in a pub, but when Mr Hocking heard the break-in and went to investigate, Garrod attacked him.

He then attempted to escape, but when Mr Hocking's brother-in-law Peter Whitfield, 65, tried to stop him, he too was attacked and badly bitten on his arm.

Giving evidence at the trial, Mr Hocking said after Garrod hit him with the shovel, he tried to defend himself, but the younger and stronger man overpowered him.

Mr Malcolm Galloway, prosecuting, said Mr Hocking and Mr Whitfield were "very brave men who had acted with a great deal of fortitude".

Mr Jason Beal, defending, said Garrod was immature and had been trying to "play the big man" in front of his friends when he carried out the attack, in revenge for an earlier incident in a pub.

He claimed his client had acted in self defence when confronted by Mr Hocking and Mr Whitfield.

Recorder Mr Michael Vere-Hodge, QC, told Garrod: "The ease with which you resort to violence means you represent a high risk which will not be reduced without significant psychological input and offender management.

"I have to say no lesser sentence is appropriate because of the seriousness of what you did and the way you behaved towards two elderly men."

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