Page last updated at 15:19 GMT, Thursday, 29 April 2010 16:19 UK

Brighton burglar sentence 'too lenient'

A burglar who originally received a community order after attacking a woman in her home at night has been ordered to serve four years in jail.

Anthony Leonard, 35, from Brighton, was handed a two-year community order for breaking into Sarah Hackett's home while she and her sons were sleeping.

The Court of Appeal ruled the community order given by Lewes Crown Court in January was "unduly lenient".

Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, ordered Leonard to surrender to police.

Leonard, who had "numerous" previous convictions, had admitted aggravated burglary and assault causing actual bodily harm at the crown court.

He was originally given the community order, with a requirement to attend a drug rehabilitation course.

Grabbed throat

Ms Hackett, 45, was at her Brighton home with her teenage sons, Robert and Andrew, when she was woken by noises downstairs.

That must have been a very tough experience for you
The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge

In the confrontation that followed, Leonard lunged at her with a screwdriver, grabbed her round the throat and pushed her down some stairs, the judge was told.

The court heard Robert, 16, picked up the only available weapon, a dog lead, and struck out at the burglar.

Lord Judge told Ms Hackett and her son Robert: "You were very brave that night.

"That must have been a very tough experience for you."

He added: "We have been at pains recently to emphasise the seriousness with which the offence of house burglary should be treated by sentencing courts."

After the hearing, Ms Hackett welcomed the ruling, saying: "We are so pleased."

She said Robert had been "so brave that night".



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