Helen's Family: "Despite this victory for justice there can be no celebration"
Six Year Sentence For Missing Woman
A young woman who burgled a kindly 79 year old neighbour at knifepoint to get money for drugs is facing a six year jail sentence if she can be found.
Leanne Burris, 25 repeatedly scrounged money from her long term neighbour in Althorp Road, Luton, who had even pushed her in her pram when she was a baby.
But after her arrest for aggravated burglary in July last year, she was found a place at a bail hostel in Lambeth. She was also supposed to report to police daily.
However she never turned up at the hostel and was circulated as a wanted person.
She has not been found and her trial was held in her absence at Luton Crown Court in January this year where she was convicted of burglary and aggravated burglary.
Sentence was adjourned in the hope she would be found, but on Wednesday Judge Richard Foster handed down a six year sentence with her still not present.
Back in January her victim, now aged 80 told the jury he had lived in the same house for 40 years and was friendly with her parents. He remembered her as a baby.
He said he felt sorry for her when she was older and paid her for do some cleaning and would also give her money for her rent.
"She was quite helpful then, but she went on drugs and it was hopeless then. She became very erratic and would get violent and I stopped letting her in."
On July 25 he was taking an afternoon nap when she climbed in through his bedroom window and took Â£5 from his trousers and then searched about downstairs, said prosecutor, Piers Vonberg.
The pensioner reported that matter to police, but two days later he woke in the morning to find her in his bedroom holding a kitchen knife to his throat.
"She said she was going to kill me for reporting her to police. I said if she was going to do it to make it quick because I didn't deserve to suffer."
He said she found some more cash and wanted his bank Post Office card, but he gave her an old one and she left, later ringing the house in a rage because she could not get any money out.
She was arrested the same day. She told police that on the first occasion she had gone to the house to repay him some money but when she got no reply she became worried and climbed up to the bedroom window.
She said on July 27 she had gone to borrow some money to buy drugs but denied threatening him with a knife.
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