A man with a fetish for women’s underwear stole a pair of knickers from a neighbour during a burglary.
Patrick Elsdon, 46, received a suspended sentence at Mold Crown Court.
Elsdon, of Lon Goed, Holywell, admitted burglary at the home of the victim, who found him coming down her stairs.
He claimed her back door had been open and he had chased an intruder.
Richard Edwards, prosecuting, said when police later arrested him at his home, they found a pair of the victim’s knickers under his pillow.
Judge Niclas Parry said that the victim was petrified and was scared in her own home. “The aggravating feature of this case is obvious. Your female victim returned to what should have been the safety of her home to be confronted by you in her property,” he told Elsdon.
It was humiliating for her to think that to satisfy your fetish you either entered her bedroom or her linen basket to steal her underwear.
Mr Parry said that it would have been an extremely distressing experience for the victim and clearly only a custodial sentence could be justified.
But Elsdon had served the equivalent of a seven-month sentence on remand and he was someone who the probation service felt should be monitored for the protection of the public.
Elsdon received an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and was placed on supervision for 18 months.
A restraining order was made not to contact the victim or to enter the grounds of her home.
The court heard the victim, in her 20s, had experienced unexplained incidents at her home previously.
Keys had gone missing and food had been taken from her freezer.
A few weeks before the burglary in March another back door key had gone missing.
On March 26 she returned home and she heard a noise upstairs as she entered the living room.
“She then saw the defendant coming down the stairs,” Richard Edwards, prosecuting, said.
“She was shocked and it made her heart race. He [Elsdon] told her that it was all right, that he had chased someone out of her house.
“The defendant told her that the intruder had got in through the back door and he showed her that it was unlocked,” he said.
She did not believe him, told him to leave and called the police.
The victim checked the house and initially did not find anything missing, while a six-foot-high side gate remained locked and bolted.
Police arrested Elsdon. When they searched his home they found a pair of the victim’s knickers under his pillow.
Interviewed, he claimed to have heard a noise of someone running down the stairs at the house, got no reply when he knocked the door and when he found the gate and back door open decided to go in to confront the alleged intruder.
He said he ran upstairs although officers questioned how he could do that because he was out of breath entering the interview room, had a bad heart and had undergone hip replacement surgery.
Elsdon admitted picking up a pair of black knickers on the stairs and placing them in his pocket.
He agreed that he had a fetish for knickers.
Mark Davies, defending, said that his client had no previous convictions and had been in custody since the offence in March, the equivalent of a seven-month sentence.
His basis of plea had been accepted, the burglary occurred mid afternoon not at night, and the defendant was full of remorse.
It was clear that he would benefit from probation, Mr Davies said.