A DRUGGED up burglar left a family terrified as he threatened them with a knife after they barricaded themselves in their bedrooms.
Thomas Nixon smashed his way into the family home with a shovel before demanding the victims hand over their cash and stole Christmas presents.
The couple and their ten-year-old daughter were in bed in Arncliffe Road, Middlesbrough, on December 18 when Nixon broke into their home.
The 37-year-old appeared at the bottom of the stairs shouting ‘stay upstairs, there are four of us here with knives’, Teesside Crown Court heard.
The family barricaded themselves in the bedroom but Nixon pushed the door partly open and began pushing a ten-inch kitchen knife in their direction demanding their money.
The court heard how the wife handed him her purse and her husband told him to take his wallet which was downstairs.
As he left the house he grabbed four bags of Christmas presents which he ripped open as he fled the scene.
In her terror she had texted her mother begging her to call the police, said prosecutor Paul Newcombe
He added: “He had a druggie appearance, and they were absolutely terrified.
“Her purse contained a coin of great sentimental value.”
Paul Green, in mitigation, said that Nixon had long-term mental health problems and he had self-medicated before the burglary.
He told the judge that there were no other burglars with him who were armed with knives.
The Recorder of Middlesbrough Judge Paul Watson QC said that it was a ‘horrendous offence which no doubt terrified the family’.
The judge told Nixon, who appeared by videolink from Durham Prison while on crutches: “One can only imagine the terror that they must have felt when they heard in the middle of the night the door being smashed open by you.
“It was a mean, terrible offence. You can’t have been long out of prison from serving a four and a half year sentence.”
Nixon, of Lime Tree Close, Middlesbrough, who had 13 previous convictions for burglary, was jailed for seven years after he pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary with theft of £1,500 or property.
He also pleaded guilty to two charges of fraud after using the stolen bank cards in two shops within 10 minutes of the burglary offence being committed.