Published: 00:01, 08 October 2012
Burglars Terry Norman left Ricky Norman middle and Paul Ioannou right
by Paul Hooper
Two thieving Thanet brothers who targeted the homes of vulnerable pensioners to fund their drugs habit have received jail sentences totalling 19 years.
Terry and Ricky Norman blamed their cowardly attacks on a cocktail of heroin, Rohypnol and alcohol.
But Judge Adele Williams told the scheming brothers: "You have committed grave crimes - preying upon the elderly and vulnerable. They no longer feel safe in their own homes."
She jailed Terry, 26, for 10 years and his 28-year-old brother Ricky for nine years. The pair both live in Sanger Close, Margate.
The two – along with getaway driver Paul Ioannou, 28, from Easington Colliery in County Durham - stole a car and used it during the early-morning break-in at the home of a terrified 80-year-old in Garlinge High Street.
Canterbury Crown Court heard how the brothers also targeted another victim two hours later in George Fifth Avenue when one of the raiders armed himself with a knife and snarled at the victim: "I don't want to hurt you, but I will if I have to."
Ioannou was jailed for two-and-a-half years.
Terry was also sentence for two more burglaries – targeting a victim with dementia and another who was blind – and two frauds, theft and handling stolen property.
Adam Butler, prosecuting, told how a Citroen car was stolen from a woman in Tivoli Road, Margate, in April.
"you have committed grave crimes - preying upon the elderly and vulnerable. they no longer feel safe in their own homes…" – judge adele williams
The gang then drove the car at 5am to the home of an 80-year-old who lives in High Street, Garlinge.
She woke up to find Terry Norman at the front door – which she opened believing it was her son-in-law.
"He forced his way into the property and asked her for a cup of tea," Mr Butler said. "He then went into the kitchen and put the kettle on. He then asked to use the toilet."
Mr Butler added that when the woman went upstairs, she found Norman going through her belongings and was asked: "Where is your purse? Where is your money?"
Ricky – who worked as the elderly victim's cleaning assistant – then knocked on the front door and she felt safer because she knew him.
But the prosecutor said it was just a ruse to allow Terry to continue the search for money and the mean thief even stole her bus pass and stamps. After the raid, the pair then set alight the stolen car.
The brothers then went to the home of a woman in George Fifth Avenue two hours later. She returned from feeding her horses to find them inside her home.
The prosecutor added: "One of the males was coming down stairs holding a kitchen knife and a suitcase. She tried to grab the case when the man said: 'I don't want to hurt you but I will if I have to.'
"The two then left after stealing jewellery, a laptop, alcohol and a games machine and her car keys and the two then made off in her vehicle."
They drove it to a nearby leisure centre, but were caught hiding nearby and Ioannou was found later.
The court heard that, in March, Terry had stolen a cheque book from an elderly woman and tried to persuade two girls to cash the money.
He also went to the home of a woman who is registered blind conning his way inside and stealing £380.
John O'Higgins, defending Ricky, said: "He is simply appalled by his behaviour and feels genuine remorse."
Edmund Burge, for Terry, added: "These offences are completely out of character. He needed money for his drugs habit. He feels abject remorse, horror and profound concern for his victims."
All three admitted charges including aggravated burglary, burglary, arson and aggravated vehicle taking.