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Burglar beat victim with guitar then hid in neighbour’s bed

12 Aug 2020

A burglar who subjected a man to a barrage of blows with a guitar, a crutch and a glass bottle before hiding from police in a neighbour’s bed has been jailed.

Keith Byford, 57, went to the address in Godmanchester on 30 July last year and started petting the victim’s cat through an open window. He said he wanted to speak to the person who lived there.

Feeling uneasy about the situation, the victim went to close the window but before he could do so, Byford knocked it off the lock and it swung fully open.

The victim ran into his bedroom to call the police. When he returned to the living room, Byford was inside the property and said “do you want me to beat you with this guitar?”

Byford then picked up the wooden acoustic guitar and struck the victim five times with it, hard enough to break the body of the instrument.

Byford then made his way to the kitchen, all the while demanding the victim hand over his medication. Fearful of what was next, the victim ran to the front door and went outside to wait for police. It was then he realised his arm was dripping with blood following the guitar attack.

After a few moments, the victim went back inside to confront Byford, who grabbed the victim’s crutch and launched another attack, repeatedly hitting him on the left-hand side of his body.

Byford then struck the victim with a glass bottle, before picking up the man’s television set. He tried to throw the TV, but was thwarted by the power cord restricting its movement.

After the prolonged attack, Byford grabbed the keys to the victim’s flat and said “I’ll take these. I’ve got your blood all over me, if you go to the police I’ll kill you!”

He made one last ditch attempt to take the victim’s medication, but when the man explained all he had was an inhaler and paracetamol, Byford left.

When police arrived at the scene, they found the victim shaken and injured. After finding out what had happened, officers initially thought the attacker matched the description of someone who lived nearby.

On visiting the property, officers noticed an item of blood-stained clothing in the hallway, but the person who answered the door didn’t match the description given to them by the victim.

Suspicious of this, officers conducted a search of the property and discovered Byford hiding in bed and wearing the blooded clothes he was wearing when he carried out the attack.

After his arrest, Byford initially claimed he was drunk and couldn’t remember anything. However, his fingerprint was discovered on the victim’s window frame and the man’s DNA was matched to the blood stains on Byford’s clothing.

Byford, of Bascraft Way, Godmanchester, pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary and failing to surrender to bail at Cambridge Crown Court yesterday (11 August) and was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison.

DC John Whitworth, investigating, said: “Byford was clearly intent on getting what he wanted and doing the victim some serious harm that day.

“He subjected him to numerous attacks with various weapons and despite the blood and the chaos showed no signs of easing off on his tirade.

“To top it off, he then tried to hide from police, but officers were one step ahead of him.

“I’m glad justice has been done today.”

For online burglary prevention advice visit: https://bit.ly/2Clnop1

Anyone with information about burglary should call police on 101 or visit www.cambs.police.uk/report Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111 or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

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