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Burglars who broke into disabled pal’s Carlisle home are jailed

Sheldon O’Neil and Stephen Wilkinson

TWO men who burgled a disabled friend’s Carlisle home while drunk have been jailed.

Sheldon Harley James O’Neil, 20, and Stephen Wilkinson, 36, were spotted by an eyewitness as their cruel crime, at an unoccupied bungalow in the city’s Morton area, unfolded at around 5-45am on September 7.

Officers were swiftly on the scene, recognised the two crooks and gave chase as they fled. Wilkinson was apprehended while O’Neil was detained three days later. A laptop, cash box and tool box had been removed from the address.

In an impact statement, their victim spoke of having previously considered the two men “friends”. Effectively wheelchair-bound following a road accident which left him paralysed from the waist down, he had been receiving full-time care in a nursing home at the time of the pair’s crime.

Carlisle Crown Court heard of the “hurt” and trauma he was caused by an offence they had told him they didn’t commit, and no longer wanted to return home.

Wilkinson, of Bridge Terrace, and O’Neil, of Boustead Grassing, both Carlisle, eventually admitted burglary and were said to be “ashamed” and “sorry” for what they had done. O’Neil had also admitted illegal knife possession during a separate incident on November 2.

They were jailed today (MON) for 28 months and 30 months, respectively.

Of the break-in, Judge Peter Davies told the men: “You deliberately targeted that premises, which is a shameful thing to do.”

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