Armed burglar found asleep under woman's bed

Preston Crown Court

Preston Crown Court

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A woman woke to find a woman burglar armed with a knife hiding under her bed.

Intruder Adele Ailsa Costello, 32, of no fixed abode, moved two knives and a wine bottle into the victim’s bedroom as she slept.

Terrified Tammy Battle had only recently moved to the ground floor flat at Waterloo Terrace, Ashton, Preston Crown Court heard.

She had been on a night out on July 23 last year and went to bed when she returned home at around midnight.

At 6am she woke to get a drink of water, and realised that there was an intruder in her flat.

Costello, flanked by five psychiatric nurses in the dock was motionless as prosecutor Claire Larton said: “She noticed a bottle of wine on the floor of the bedroom which she didn’t recall putting there.

“She bent down and saw a pair of feet sticking out from under her bed.

“She describes jumping up onto the bed in panic and peering over and seeing someone lying face down with a hood up obscuring her face.

“She said to police she thought the person was dead because there was no movement at all.

“She left the room and ran to a neighbour’s and returned with a friend.

“Together they tried unsuccessfully to rouse the woman beneath the bed.

“She was found to have a knife beside her on the floor.

She was found to have entered kitchen and moved two knives from the kitchen into the bedroom – one a large carving knife discovered by the headboard – together with the wine bottle.

“Tammy Battle had not lived there very long.

“She describes being devastated, terrified and having recently separated from her partner had never lived alone before, and is frightened to continue to do so.

The court heard that Costello could pose a risk to the public when poorly.

Defending, Sharon Watson explained Costello had a “highly complex mental disorder”.

Dr Matthew Appleyard, a consultant psychiatrist at Guild Lodge, said she suffered schizophrenia amongst other illnesses, including a personality disorder.

Costello began to cry as Judge Simon Adkin said: “This a case where it is recognised she is very mentally unwell.

“I am satisfied the schizophrenia makes it appropriate for her to be detained in hospital for treatment.”

He made a hospital order for Costello, which is to run indefinitely.