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Gran tells how she fought with Eccleshill knifeman
Brave grannie Jean Hoodless battled with an armed robber in her home – telling him “my knife is bigger than yours”.
Drug addict John Surtees got more than he bargained for after walking into 65-year-old Miss Hoodless’s living room, pointing a knife at her chest and saying: “I want everything,” Bradford Crown Court was told.
Prosecutor Nigel Hamilton told the court yesterday the grandma, who has arthritis and uses a walking stick, was shocked and angry but bravely replied: “If you think you’re getting anything of mine, you’ve got another thing coming.”
She pushed the robber and he pushed her back. She went into the kitchen, shouting: “I’ve got a bigger knife than that,” and picked up her bread knife.
Surtees disarmed her and there was a struggle during which he punched her.
The defendant went back into the living room to steal her laptop but the grandmother tried to stop him again, despite her glasses being broken.
But Surtees pushed her and she staggered back and fell. He fled with her laptop and handbag, leaving her on the floor.
Surtees, 31, of Stone Hall Road, Eccleshill, Bradford, was given an 11-year extended sentence, made up of seven years imprisonment and an extra four-year period of licence.
Judge Colin Burn said Miss Hoodless had shown “astonishing fortitude”.
The judge told Surtees: “It’s clear you were desperate for something you could sell for money. You appeared to be desperate and all the more scary for it. It is a serious offence and a terrifying one. You are prepared to go into people’s homes to steal on a regular basis, and also you are prepared to use or threaten violence.”
After the case Miss Hoodless told the Telegraph & Argus she was determined not to let the laptop go because it was a “precious gift” from her son Tony.
She said: “He wasn’t going to take that if I could stop him, but he was a very strong man.
“I was scared, angry and mad when it happened. I put up a fight. I didn’t think about what I was doing. I was in shock. I’m just a normal woman and didn’t expect to do what I did.”
She said she had had to move home since the robbery.
“I was nervous every time I left the door open for the cats to come in. I was worried someone would come in. I’m still nervous, but I won’t let it beat me.”
Surtees pleaded guilty to robbery at Miss Hoodless’s then home in Woodroyd Road, West Bowling. She was alone in her ground floor flat but her front door was unlocked. She suffered cuts, sores and bruises.
The court heard Surtees had 29 conviction for 51 offences, including violence, and a robbery. He committed the latest offence only six weeks after being released from prison on licence for attempted burglary.
His solicitor advocate, Anne-Marie Hutton, said her client had been anxious to make sure the complainant did not have to relive her ordeal at court.
After the case Detective Constable Dean Smith, of Bradford South CID, said: “The sentence reflects the true severity of Surtees’ crimes.”