JAILED: Sick burglar who dragged pensioner from her bed and hit her

Pictured left, Evelyn Birchall,right,Andrew Hodgkinson
Pictured left, Evelyn Birchall,right,Andrew Hodgkinson

A tattooed thug who attacked and robbed an 88-year-old great grandmother in her bed has been caged for six years and eight months.

Brave Evelyn Birchall asked violent intruder Andrew Hodgkinson what he wanted, but feared she would be raped when he menacingly replied: "I want you".

Evelyn Birchall, pictured shortly after the attack in August

Evelyn Birchall, pictured shortly after the attack in August

He attacked her and ransacked her Chorley home, tearing the blaring alarm box from the wall and vandalising her pictures.

Recorder David Potter, sitting at Preston Crown Court, found him to be a dangerous offender and imposed an extended licence of three years.

Hodgkinson, 36, of Ullswater Road, Chorley, will only be released if the parole board decide it is safe to do so.

He broke into Mrs Birchall's sheltered accommodation bungalow, where she lives alone, overnight on August 26.

The frail pensioner, who needs the aid of a walking stick, and has heart problems, woke in pitch black darkness to find him pulling her arms.

Prosecuting, David Traynor said: " She woke up to find something touching her. She wasn't sure if it was a man or an animal.

"She received a blow to the face. She tried to fight off whatever it was, but the defendant was fighting back.

"She describes him as being vicious.

"He pulled everything off the bed and threw it across the bedroom, and that resulted in Mrs Birchall landing on the floor. She was unable to get up without support.

"She was forced to crawl across the floor to the bed to get up, but as she managed to get to her feet the defendant returned into the room and pushed her, causing her to fall.

"She was lying on her back and the defendant came and stood over her with one leg at either side of her body.

"The defendant said: "'Do you know me?'

"She replied: 'No. what do you want?'

"He said: 'I want you.' She describes she was terrified - because of his answer she feared he was going to rape her."

However Hodgkinson then started demanding money.

She told him she didn't have any until her next pension withdrawal.

The pensioner managed to get up and follow him into another room where he was tipping all her jewellery into a bag.

Violent Hodgkinson then threw her across the room with such force she slid into a corridor and was knocked out.

When she came to, the courageous pensioner was worried for her disabled sister, who lives in the same complex, and her elderly neighbours.

The court heard the robber callously left her on the floor. At 12.40am she managed to crawl to a neighbour's home in the dark for help.

Mrs Birchall had to have a CT scan, and stayed with her daughter for two weeks - but the independent pensioner was determined to return home.

Hodgkinson left his fingerprints and footprints at the scene and was arrested hours later at his home after a public appeal - with the stolen goods recovered.

He pleaded guilty to robbery and driving while disqualified.

Mrs Birchall couldn't get out of bed, or eat or sleep, for the first few days after the attack.In a victim impact statement she said she felt lucky to hav survived the attack, but told how she was upset and angry when her great grand-daughters came to visit and were shocked and scared by her disfigurement.

Addressing Hodgkinson, who rubbed his head in his hands in the dock, Recorder David Potter said: "You bent right down and said: "I want you.""That was for Mrs Birchall a horrific moment, a moment when she, albeit only for a second, thought that she was going to be raped.

"Almost immediately you demanded to know where her purse and money was. She told you she didn't and wouldn't have any money until she collected her pension.

"She screamed at you, telling you she hadn't got a purse and that infuriated you yet further.

"You grabbed hold of Mrs Birchall and threw her as hard as you could. She was propelled into the hallway.

"She passed out for a few seconds, Even then, displaying remarkable fortitude, her only concern was for her sister who lives in the same complex.

"It was undoubtedly a truly terrifying ordeal for Evelyn Birchall."

Welcoming the sentence, Detective Inspector Warren Atkinson, of South CID, said: "This was a brutal and sustained assault on an elderly lady in her own home.

“The violence used on this vulnerable woman simply beggars belief and it is a miracle she was not more seriously injured.“In 27 years of service I have never witnessed such levels of gratuitous violence."