AN intruder accused of hitting a defenceless 88 -year-old widow with a mystery weapon during a “sickening” raid at her remote home, was jailed for 14 years and four months on Wednesday (June 13).

Jeffrey Earp, 50, of Ceiriog, Newtown, who admitted robbery, was told by Judge Timothy Petts: "You have ruined her life.”

Caernarfon Crown Court heard the pensioner had been struck repeatedly to the face and had severe bruising, a broken arm and lost consciousness.

She was then left for a number of hours locked in a bedroom.

Judge Petts said it was a sickening attack. “It must have been an horrendous ordeal for her.”

Earp also pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit burglary in June last year at Newtown with two other men from the town. Keith Charles Grogan, 42, of Frolic Street, and Carl Barrett, 51, of Dinas, both said to have been disgusted by the violence, were each jailed for three years.

Prosecuting counsel Anna Pope said :”There’s no suggestion or evidence either Grogan or Barrett went in the house.

"But they remained outside acting as lookouts.”

Miss Pope said the raid was “planned and targeted.” The trio had been to scout out how easy it would be to steal from the property and the next morning, around 10am, they returned.

Blanche Rowlands had been outside, walking down her path, unaware she was being watched.

When she returned to her door Earp had been waiting and he forced his way inside and demanded cash.

The victim was struck with an unknown weapon, causing “significant” injury to her face and body and Mrs Rowlands fell to the floor at some stage.

Earp stopped her reaching a phone and he rifled through drawers and wardrobes.

Police and Ambulance were alerted after a neighbour had been called by the widow’s daughter who’d tried to ring her that morning without success.

He heard faint knocking and found the victim “confused, upset and frightened.”

Miss Pope said it was a “confused” picture about what exactly had happened.

“Mrs Rowlands’s recovery was slow and she continues to have limited movement to the upper left arm and shoulder,” added Miss Pope.

An engagement ring, gold watch received as a 21st birthday present and her late husband’s gold ring were among missing items.

Bethan Rowlands said in a statement that her mother was injured in a “brutal” attack and she could no longer lead an independent life.

She said :”To say this attack has affected her life would be an understatement. The injuries have left her physically and mentally scarred.”

The pensioner suffered nightmares and flashbacks. “No-one else should have to go through what she went through,” her daughter declared.

All three defendants had a catalogue of previous convictions.

Huw Rees Davies, defending jobless Earp, said he had struggled with drug addiction.

Earp claimed the injuries were caused by a “significant push” and the pensioner falling against furniture and he had no memory of using a weapon.

Mr Davies added: “He’s shocked by the extent of the injuries.

"For what it’s worth, he apologises for his actions.”

Jonathan Austin, for Grogan, said he went voluntarily to the police station and had no idea Earp would behave as he did. He’d been owed £20 by Earp.

Dafydd Roberts, barrister for Barrett, added :”He’s appalled by the behaviour of Mr Earp and the violence inflicted on this lady.”

Judge Petts said those who preyed on the elderly would receive “severe” sentences.