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Robber tries to foil forensic science, fails and is jailed for more than 20 years

David Devlin attempted to remove forensic evidence Photo: Leicestershire Police

A burglar who cut a victim's nails in a bid to destroy evidence was jailed after his DNA was found on an errant clipping, police have said.

David Devlin, 26, from Lumbertubs Lane in Northampton, was with two other men as they attempted to raid a raid a house in Leicester.

They were wearing balaclavas, but there plans went awry when their victim, a woman in her 60s, scratched Devlin's face.

Realising there might be DNA under the woman's nails, the gang clipped her nails and washed her hands with cleaning fluid,

When the men left the property, the woman called the police. She had suffered injuries including a fractured left wrist which required surgery, bruising to her face and damage to her eye.

But DNA found on clippings left at the scene linked 26-year-old David Devlin to the attack and he was jailed for a total of 22 years.

Devlin admitted robbery, causing grievous bodily harm and handling stolen goods.

The men stole the woman's wedding ring during the raid in Yardley Drive on March 11, while Devlin was on the run from prison at the time, police added.

“Devlin’s crimes are truly shocking. People were attacked and left terrified in their own homes because of the actions of Devlin along with others. In one case, a woman suffered a number of horrific injuries.

“Devlin went to extreme lengths in trying to stop any evidence being left from his crimes but the detailed and thorough investigative work of our team led to him being identified through DNA evidence from fingernail clippings. It left Devlin with no choice but to plead guilty to his crimes in court and accept full responsibility which has resulted in a 22-year sentence being passed.

– Detective Inspector Gareth Goddard:

Police did not state whether the two other men involved in the robbery had been caught.

Devlin was also convicted of a second robbery in the city Leicester. A mother and her children were at the address when three men broke in making threats including placing their hands over the mouths of the mother and one of her children, threatening the mother with a screwdriver.

Cash was demanded from the family and thousands of pounds worth of jewellery was stolen as well as a camera.