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Eight years for stealing just £8: Woman jailed for knifepoint burglary on Gloucester family home

A woman who broke into a Gloucester home armed with a kitchen knife and terrorised the family who lived there has been jailed for eight years for aggravated burglary.

Sarah Heffren, 38, of Matson Lane, climbed through a window of a nearby bungalow on September 2 and began her rampage, Gloucester crown court was told.

Prosecuting barrister Janine Wood said "Charlotte and John King and their two children were asleep at the time and the two adults woke up to find the defendant standing over them armed with a knife.

"They told her to get out and Charlotte tried to call the police but the defendant snatched the mobile phone from her.

"John King got up but the defendant pushed him over and kicked him in the groin while he lay on the floor."

The court heard that Heffren, who admitted the offence, then proceeded to punch Charlotte King to the head four or five times and threatened them both with the knife.

"She took £8 in loose change from on top of a cabinet and finally left the house," said Ms Wood.

The police were called and they watched CCTV of the defendant leaving Taylor House, where she lived, at around two in the morning and returning at 4.38am.

"Charlotte King suffered a cut lip in the assault and John King still feels pain from the kick," said the barrister.

The defendant has ten previous convictions for 15 offences, including affray, robbery and drugs, Ms Wood added.

"The robbery occurred at a Gloucester cash point when the defendant threatened a lady with a knife and grabbed her handbag," said the barrister.

In a victim's impact statement Mr King said that they had only moved into the bungalow a month beforehand and he no longer felt safe in his own home.

"I still feel guilty that I couldn't stop her," he said.

Charlotte King said: "Seeing her with a knife was the scariest thing I have ever seen.

"We always keep our windows closed now."

Probation officer Neil Hewitt told the court; "She was high on heroin and crack cocaine and alcohol at the time and said that she was looking for a friend and went into the wrong house.

"She is disgusted with herself especially as there were two young children in the property.

"She has been on Class A drugs for 15 years. She lost her partner 15 years ago and hasn't grieved properly."

Said defending barrister Giles Nelson: "She was in real state at the time off the offence and was high on a cocktail of drink and drugs. It was a desperate action."

His Honour Judge Ian Lawrie QC told Heffren: "You invaded this family's home in the early hours of the morning and behaved in an appalling manner.

"You punched the lady in the head and kicked her husband while he lay on the floor in the groin - in the sanctity of their own home."

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