Countess Bathurst opened curtains at stately home to find a shocked burglar, who is now locked up

Lady Sara Bathurst grabbed the burglar by the collar before calling the police

Lady Sara Bathurst grabbed the burglar by the collar before calling the police

Lady Sara Bathurst grabbed the burglar by the collar before calling the police

Aristocrat Lady Sara Bathurst and her husband were alerted to the burglar by their alarm system at 1am on 18th October.

While Lord Allen Bathurst searched the rooms surrounding the hallway, Lady Bathurst checked the hallway and discovered Thomas Trickey, 20, hiding behind the curtains, the prosecution said.

She then grabbed Mr Trickey by the collar and frogmarched him into the kitchen to call the police.

Lady Bathurst told a court of her shock and terror when she made the discovery at her Cotswolds stately home . 

The 20-year-old had broken into the Cirencester Park mansion to steal but was then caught.

Looking around the mansion together, Earl Bathurst and his wife noticed an ‘unusually strong draught’ and looked up to see that a window about 20 feet high was broken, Bristol crown court was told. 

Trickey of Stratton, near Cirencester, admitted burgling the mansion with intent to steal and was sentenced to 20 months youth custody by the Recorder of Bristol Judge Peter Blair QC.

Prosecutor Nicholas Lee told the court: ‘On October 18 this year Lord and Lady Bathurst were at their stately home on Cirencester Park Estate and just after 1am the security alarms sounded.

Lady Bathurst and her husband, Lord Allen Bathurst, pictured after the Countess' appointment as Gloucestershire High Sheriff.  The couple were alerted to the burglary by their alarm system at 1am on October 18

Lady Bathurst and her husband, Lord Allen Bathurst, pictured after the Countess' appointment as Gloucestershire High Sheriff.  The couple were alerted to the burglary by their alarm system at 1am on October 18

Lady Bathurst and her husband, Lord Allen Bathurst, pictured after the Countess’ appointment as Gloucestershire High Sheriff.  The couple were alerted to the burglary by their alarm system at 1am on October 18

Lady Bathurst 'screamed and jumped backwards' after searching the hallway and discovering the burglar hiding behind her curtains

Lady Bathurst 'screamed and jumped backwards' after searching the hallway and discovering the burglar hiding behind her curtains

Lady Bathurst ‘screamed and jumped backwards’ after searching the hallway and discovering the burglar hiding behind her curtains

‘They went to check on the property and entering the hallway they noticed an unusually strong draught and when they looked up they saw that a window pane 20 feet up had been broken.

‘Lord Bathurst went looking around the rooms surrounding the hallway while Lady Bathurst stayed behind and looked in the hallway.

‘Approaching some curtains, she could feel the body heat of somebody close by. On pulling back the curtains she screamed and jumped backwards as she discovered Trickey cowering behind a shelf. 

‘Trickey told her ‘I don’t mean any harm’. She grabbed him by the collar and took him into the kitchen and called the police.

‘He explained to her that he didn’t mean any harm and said he was hungry and was looking for money. He kept saying he was sorry to Lady Bathurst and how stupid he had been.

Thomas Trickey has been sentenced to 20 months in a young offenders institution

Thomas Trickey has been sentenced to 20 months in a young offenders institution

Thomas Trickey has been sentenced to 20 months in a young offenders institution

‘Police arrived and arrested him and he told the officers that he had taken an opium-based pain killer earlier and was looking for money for food and rent.

‘He said that he had decided to break into a wealthy house as the damage to the owners would be less.

‘He had previously fantasised about breaking in as he believed there was a lot of inherited wealth that would not be missed.’

The hall window cost £1,439 to repair.  

After hearing that Mr Trickey was yesterday sentenced to 20 months in a young offenders institution, Countess Bathurst said: ‘I am really happy with the sentence because, unlike an adult prison, I think he will benefit from being in youth custody.

‘I hope it will help him decide to take a different path in life. After my initial fear and outrage at finding him burgling my home I felt really sorry for him. I wish him well, I really do.

‘I want him to be OK. I want him to find a different way. I will write to him, probably soon, to wish him well and and say my husband (the 9th Earl Bathurst) and I forgive him. We accept that he must have been in a just awful situation in life to be pushed into doing what he did and breaking into our home.

‘I don’t think he is evil. I don’t think this lad even has an evil bone in his body. I think he was desperate and reaching out for help and I hope he now gets it.

‘Having been High Sheriff (an historic law enforcement post which is now largely ceremonial) and sat in courts quite often during my year in office I have enormous faith in the legal and justice system and I know there are agencies which will help this young man and support him. I shall also do all I can to help him along the way.’

In a victim statement Lady Bathurst said: ‘Feeling somebody, who you do not know, has entered your home in an aggressive way intent on stealing something is devastating.

‘The feeling is so intense I cannot put it into words. I will never forget that feeling of Trickey entering my home not knowing the threat he posed.

‘My husband and I need to feel safe in our home. He has shattered that illusion.

‘We give a lot to the local community. We often open up our grounds to the public and we try to share what we have with the local community.’

The country house is the seat of the Bathurst family and is a Grade II* listed building. Lady Bathurst said the burglar has 'shattered the illusion' of her and her husband needing to 'feel safe' in their home

The country house is the seat of the Bathurst family and is a Grade II* listed building. Lady Bathurst said the burglar has 'shattered the illusion' of her and her husband needing to 'feel safe' in their home

The country house is the seat of the Bathurst family and is a Grade II* listed building. Lady Bathurst said the burglar has ‘shattered the illusion’ of her and her husband needing to ‘feel safe’ in their home

The prosecutor added: ‘Lady Bathurst is now worried about being in her home on her own.

He added: ‘Lady Bathurst and her husband wish no ill towards Trickey despite him having a misconception of them. She added that his life and their lives have been changed by his actions.

‘The couple hope Trickey will learn from his actions and they genuinely hope he can sort his life out for a better future.’

Joe Maloney, defending, said: ‘Trickey is still young and immature. He has been in custody for 24 days and has spent the time reflecting on his actions.

‘It is obvious he is genuinely remorseful and he put his hands up to the offence when he was arrested.

‘He made no attempt to run once he was caught and he waited patiently for the police to arrive.

‘He is very sorry for what he has done and regrets what has happened.

Judge Blair told Trickey: ‘You deliberately targeted a stately home and did so while the occupants were at home.

‘You believed that stealing from them would have a lesser dramatic effect on them than it would on people in a ‘normal’ dwelling.

‘You committed the offence while you were under the influence of an opium-based pain killer. I’m not surprised that Lady Bathurst screamed and recoiled when she found you behind the curtain.

‘However you have shown genuine remorse over your actions.’ 

Lady Bathurst, 52, who has previously served as the High Sheriff of Gloucestershire, lives at the mansion set in 15,000 acres of grounds, with her husband Lord Allen Bathurst, 56.

Their estate includes Cirencester Park Polo Club where Prince Charles and his sons have been regular players.

The country house is the seat of the Bathurst family and is a Grade II* listed building.

The stately home was purchased by Sir Benjamin in 1695 before his son built it in a classical style, tearing down the wings and adding new features to the main fronts.

The park was then laid out in the 1700s with a monument erected by the first Earl Bathurst to the memory of Queen Anne in 1741. 

The West Porch was demolished in 1810-11 and the East Front was rebuilt by English architect Robert Smirke in 1830. 

The 3,000-acre woodland and pasture park is open to visitors all year round from 8am to 5pm. 

 

 

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