Downham Market builder admits returning to home to burgle

Pam Gorman at Pammie's Snack Bar Catering Van on A134 Wereham
Pam Gorman at Pammie's Snack Bar Catering Van on A134 Wereham

A woman whose home was burgled by her builder has told how her life was “turned upside down” by her ordeal.

Pam Gorman spoke out after John Shipp admitted raiding her home during a court hearing in Lynn yesterday,

Pam Gorman at Pammie's Snack Bar Catering Van on A134 Wereham

Pam Gorman at Pammie's Snack Bar Catering Van on A134 Wereham

Shipp, 39, of Nelson Avenue, Downham, was committed to Norwich Crown Court for sentencing on a date which has yet to be fixed.

Mrs Gorman told the Lynn News she had discovered the raid when she returned home from work on December 14.

She said she had previously employed Shipp to carry out work at her home and had been pleased with the results.

But she now says she no longer feels she can spend long in her bathroom, the window of which Shipp removed in order to get into the property.

She said: “It’s turned my life upside down. I’ve lived on my own for a long time. I had to live with the fear are they going to come back.”

Mrs Gorman said she had suffered panic attacks since the raid and had installed extra security measures at her home.

And she is also concerned that other people may also be targeted by him, describing him as a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”.

She added: “My life has changed since this man broke into my home and stole from me. I’m more suspicious about people generally, and can’t help but worry what peoples motivations might be.

“I feel more paranoid that people are going to take advantage of me in some way. I’ve always been very trusting, but John Shipp has destroyed this.”

Earlier, Fergus Harold, prosecuting, told magistrates there had been a breach of trust, and as Shipp had been given a key while he was working there, there were indications of planning and premeditation.

He said that a neighbour’s CCTV footage showed the defendant approaching the property and footprints matching his trainers were also found.

After he had left the bungalow, cash to the value of £650 was found to have been taken when Mrs Gorman returned home later that day.

However, Mrs Gorman herself alleges that around £1,300 was stolen.

Mr Harold said that, when interviewed, Shipp had not initially confessed, but later admitted the raid, telling police he was short of money at the time.

Ruth Johnson, mitigating, said: “There was a 12-month gap between him completing work for her and him returning back to her property.

“It was not immediately after that work.”

Presiding magistrate William Hush said: “I am not convinced that any punishment you might deserve will be within our jurisdiction. The offences are so serious that you need greater punishment than we can give.

“You were trusted with a key a year earlier, although there is no suggestion that you used it, but you breached her trust by going in to her home.

“This is seemingly a premeditated action, and you knew where things were kept – you knew it was a worthwhile venture.”

Shipp was released on bail with conditions not to enter Maple Road, Downham, or to contact Mrs Gorman.