Burglar who grappled with a single mum in a terrifying raid has been jailed

David Patel

David Patel

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A single mum who fought off a burglar in a midnight raid at her home today branded his jail term “nothing”.

Ffyona McKeating, who was wearing just her underwear, woke to find “ghoulish” intruder David Patel standing by her bed in her Walton-le-Dale home.

Ffyona McKeating

Ffyona McKeating

Terrified for her two young children, who were in another room, she wrestled with the burglar in a desperate attempt to protect her children, aged two and four, and her property.

Judge Stuart Baker, sitting at Preston Crown Court, this week jailed Patel, 26, of Fishergate Hill, Preston, for four-and-a-half years after he admitted a string of burglaries and thefts.

But today Ffyona, who believed she was “going to die” and was forced to move after the ordeal, said: “Four-and-a-half years for something that still gives me night terrors, and now has me leaping out of bed several times a night at the slightest noise is nothing.

“They are career criminals, they’ve done this before and were warned by a previous judge that whilst rehabilitation would be attempted in the first instance, the judicial system would clamp down on them if they reoffended.

They are career criminals, they’ve done this before and were warned by a previous judge that whilst rehabilitation would be attempted in the first instance, the judicial system would clamp down on them if they reoffended.

Ffyona McKeating

She added: “I don’t think this has happened, and as a qualified lawyer I feel disappointed in a system I’ve always supported. We’ve had to move away from the area. I think any parent would wish for the strictest sentence for anyone who put their house and young children in danger.”

Ffyona, who runs cosmetic clinics in Preston and London, was asleep when Patel and another man got in through the back door of her home and began scouring rooms for valuables. The other man was loading up her car with goods.

She woke at 4am to find him standing by her bed in dark clothing and gloves and screamed.

She pleaded with him to put down her business laptop, but he wouldn’t.

When her two-year-old started crying in her bedroom, it triggered a frightening stand-off with the raider as she stood between him and the bedroom door.

She bravely wrestled with him, hitting his face with the laptop until they ended up on the floor.

Cowardly Patel then fled.