Courageous 90-year-old chased burglar who locked him in Fulham home basement praised by police

A ‘despicable’ burglar who locked a 90-year-old Fulham man in the basement of his own home was jailed for four years this week.

On Wednesday 25 March Thomas Joseph McDonagh, 45, was found guilty of burglary at Isleworth Crown Court.

“This man preyed on an elderly and vulnerable man,” Detective Constable Andy Griffin of Hammersmith and Fulham Police said.

“It was a despicable crime. The victim showed amazing courage.”

The pensioner was at his Fulham home when McDonagh knocked on his door claiming to be a workman.

McDonagh put his hands on the pensioner and pushed him inside saying he needed to check problems with the local water supply.

The victim was asked where the supply was and after telling him the basement was told to go down and check the temperature of the pipes.

The elderly man, who was becoming fearful, went down to check but found the basement door locked from the outside upon his return.

After being trapped for several minutes the victim was able to ‘slip’ the lock, he found several of his possessions at the bottom of the stairs.

McDonagh was hurrying down the stairs when the man managed to free himself, and pushed away the pensioner without taking any of his belongings.

The nonagenarian followed him outside calling for help alerting a local workman who was able to take down part of the license plate of McDonagh’s van.

After a forensic investigation the police were able to identify McDonagh as the suspect and apprehended him in Hayes on December 18 last year when his van was stopped and he was found inside.

The Detective Constable referred to the case as an example of checking the identity of a visitor before opening your door.

Picture courtesy of Met Police, with thanks

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