Scratched burglar jailed after being caught by nail clipping DNA

David Devlin Image copyright Leicestershire Police
Image caption David Devlin was on the run from jail at the time of the two burglaries

A violent burglar who tried to destroy DNA evidence by clipping his victim's fingernails has been jailed.

David Devlin was one of three men who smashed their way into a Leicester house, then attacked the woman inside.

After she scratched his face, Devlin washed her hands and cut her nails to destroy DNA evidence, but did not take the clippings away and was traced.

Devlin admitted two charges of robbery and one count of grievous bodily harm and was jailed for 22 years.

Leicester Crown Court heard Devlin, of no fixed address, was on the run after absconding from HMP Sudbury when the robbery took place in March.

He grabbed the woman, who is in her 60s, and demanded cash and gold, along with two other men who have not been traced.

Leicestershire Police said Devlin started punching the woman's face but when she grabbed his balaclava she scratched his face.

'Truly shocking'

The woman's hands and face were then sprayed with a cleaning fluid and he cut her fingernails using nail clippers.

Despite these precautions, Devlin left the clippings behind and when they were analysed the DNA was matched to him.

The victim suffered injuries including a fractured left wrist which required surgery, bruising to her face and damage to her eye.

The same night Devlin and two accomplices broke into another house and threatened a woman and her two children, stealing a quantity of jewellery.

Leicestershire Police described the attacks as "truly shocking".

Devlin also admitted absconding from lawful custody, two counts of aggravated burglary and one count of handling stolen goods.

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