"These are very serious domestic burglaries"
Aatish Popat, aged 39, of Leicester, was jailed for 10 years after he raided the homes of two elderly people, who had been clients when he worked as a carer.
Leicester Crown Court heard that he took advantage of the knowledge he had gained of the layout of the men’s homes from visits he had made in a professional capacity.
Lisa Hardy, prosecuting, said he raided the home of a 94-year-old man in Northcote Road, Clarendon Park, at 11 am on September 1, 2021.
She explained: “The victim lived alone and used a walking stick.
“He was in his dining room when he heard a noise and looked up to see a man whose head and face were covered, with just his eyes showing.”
Popat was armed with a knife. This was later described by the victim as “too big to be used in a kitchen”. It is believed that the blade was nine or 10-inches in length.
The terrified pensioner did not recognise Popat.
Popat put down the weapon to search the victim’s jacket and took about £100.
He then threw a telephone onto the floor before making off, leaving the victim “shocked and speechless”.
Around 20 minutes later, a nurse made a routine visit. The victim told her what happened and she called the police.
CCTV cameras in the area saw Popat parking “slightly away from the scene” in his BMW and walking to the address.
Popat was later arrested. He gave no comment in the interview but later pleaded guilty to the raid.
The ex-care worker also admitted an earlier burglary at the home of a 76-year-old former client in Stoneygate Road on July 1, 2021.
On that occasion, he took £400 in cash, a bank card, a Post Office savings book, a bus pass and a new £500 camera plus two lenses.
Mrs Hardy stated that the disabled victim used a walking frame. He was on his balcony when Popat sneaked into his home and stole his possessions without being seen.
The victim was described as “hysterical” when he realised he had been burgled.
A security camera on his doorbell filmed Popat entering but then leaving with two bags.
Mrs Hardy said the two victims were deliberately targeted. They no longer felt safe and were left feeling frightened.
Popat had no previous convictions and was employed by the care provision company between September 2020 and May 2021.
Judge Robert Brown said: “You worked as a carer for about seven months and during that period cared for both of these victims.
“You, of all people working in the care sector, know how vulnerable elderly citizens are and you were following a vocation to assist them.
“You were trusted with knowledge of gaining access to where they lived.
“These are very serious domestic burglaries of people who are, by virtue of their ages, were very vulnerable, as well you knew.
“The 76-year-old victim was a disabled man and he’s suffered greatly ever since. The 94-year-old man feared for his life when he saw you with a large knife.
“It’s a serious breach of trust that was invested in you as a [former] member of a care team.”
“Your family is here supporting you in court and they’re in deep shock – they are also victims, in a different way, of your behaviour.”
In mitigation, Paul Prior said: “He bitterly regrets his actions. It was completely out of character and he’s unlikely to be before a court again.”
Popat also admitted possessing cannabis that was found at his home when it was searched by police.
The former care worker was jailed for 10 years. He will serve at least seven years before being eligible for release on licence.
After sentencing, Detective Sergeant Paul Woods said:
“Popat quite clearly targeted these victims being fully aware of their vulnerabilities and exploited them for his own financial gain.
“However, thanks to some excellent detective work in piecing together the evidence which showed Popat was responsible for not just one burglary but two, we were able to secure charges and place him before the court to face justice for his callous actions.”