2:43pm Wednesday 9th July 2014
A DRUG addict who killed a pensioner during a botched burglary on New Year’s Day has been jailed for a total of 12 years.
Habitual burglar Peter Anthony John Harris knocked on the door of 87-year-old Elsie Mowbray then barged his way inside when she opened the door.
He claimed he was looking for his lost rabbit but made his way upstairs looking for something to steal.
But as Harris came back downstairs he was disturbed by Elsie’s son Richard who had called at her home in Victoria Court, York, to deliver her morning paper, as he did every day.
The two struggled and Harris pushed Mrs Mowbray over as he fled – and her head hit the wall so hard it left a dent in the plaster.
She died eight days later in hospital after suffering internal head bleeding.
Shortly afterwards Harris forced his way into the Turpin Court home of an acquaintance, Graham Falconer, and told him: “The whole police force is after me. I need money.”
He then stole money from a wallet, a watch and a tin containing £40 in change which was being saved for a baby girl who was in the house at the time of the robbery.
Just hours later Harris was caught by police hiding in the base of a divan bed at his home in Apollo Street. He was still wearing the stolen watch.
Harris, 33, admitted the manslaughter of Mrs Mowbray and burgling her home as well the later robbery when he appeared before Leeds Crown Court.
He was sentenced to eight years and nine months for the killing and four years for the burglary to run concurrently.
For the robbery at Turpin Court he was jailed for three years and three months to run consecutively.
Nicholas Barker, mitigating , said Harris wanted to express his “deep regret.” He said Harris’s crimes were driven by his long-term deep addiction to drugs and alcohol.
After the case Detective Superintendent Heather Pearson said: “Peter Harris knew his victim was an elderly, defenceless woman when she answered the door to him.
“He showed no regard for her when he entered her property and has subsequently shown no remorse.
“As a result of his actions, an otherwise fit and healthy lady has had her life cut short and a family has lost a loved one in tragic circumstances.”
Mrs Mowbray’s family said in a statement: “The crime committed by Peter Harris caused the death of a gentle old lady and nothing can bring her back, but we hope today’s proceedings can draw a line and our family can start to look ahead to the future and find some peace.”
© Copyright 2001-2015 Newsquest Media Group