101-year-old woman locked in Torquay care home toilet to save her from drunken intruder

Sean Smith, 23, was sentenced to 16 weeks in prison at Exeter Crown Court. Credit: BPM Media

A 101-year-old woman had to be locked in the toilet of a Torquay care home to keep her safe from a drunken intruder who smashed his way into the building.

Sean Smith drank four bottles of whisky before he broke the back door of Aveland Court Care Home in Torquay at 3.00am, confronting a female care worker and the 101-year-old.

He shouted "on the floor" at them but was then grabbed by a male black carer who Smith attacked and subjected to a torrent of racial abuse, including repeatedly shouting the N-word.

The old lady was taken to a toilet and locked in there while the male worker overpowered the intruder and sat on him until the police arrived 20 minutes later.

Smith has a previous conviction for a racist attack.

He told police he was looking for a friend’s house but got confused after a two-day whisky binge.

Smith, 23, from Ipswich but who was staying at Lichfield Road, Torquay, admitted racially aggravated battery and criminal damage to the back door.

He was jailed for 16 weeks by Recorder Mr Mathew Turner at Exeter Crown Court.

He will be released within days because he has been in custody since his arrest on 13 February and will only serve half the sentence.

The judge told him: “In my view, the racial element is the most serious factor in this case. An elderly resident of 101 was also present.”

Miss Caroline Bolt, prosecuting, said a nurse who was with the 101-year-old resident heard a loud crash in the middle of the night and was confronted by a stranger who shouted at them "you, on the floor".

She was shocked and worried about the safety of the resident but was joined by another member of staff who was ushering Smith out of the building when he was attacked.

Smith punched him in the face, causing a bloody nose.

The victim then overpowered Smith and knelt on him on the floor while being subjected to a torrent of racist abuse.

Miss Bolt said: “The elderly resident had to be kept in a toilet for her own safety until police arrived.”

Mr Paul Dentith, defending, said Smith had recently been released from another sentence and was doing well until his aunt died a few days earlier, leading to him "falling off the wagon".

He plans to leave Devon and rejoin his family in Suffolk as soon as he is released.

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