A BLIND teenager left afraid to be home alone after being burgled by a so-called friend said of his ordeal: ‘It’s ruined me for life.’
Brandon Coleman had to move out of his flat as he no longer feels safe there and has lost his trust in people.
The 19-year-old’s nightmare was sparked by Reece Dunne who befriended Brandon then burgled his flat while he was out.
Brandon said of Dunne, 21, who has been jailed for 20 months: ‘I considered him as my friend.’
Portsmouth Crown Court heard Dunne met his victim when he moved into a flat in Middle Park Way, Leigh Park.
Brandon, who started going blind about two years ago due to Leber hereditary optic neuropathy, an inherited version of vision loss, lived two doors up from Dunne.
He said his friends had warned him off Dunne: ‘I thought he was alright,’ Brandon said. ‘I used to let him into my flat and that. He used to say “have you got any washing?”’
On one occasion Brandon returned to his flat with a friend to discover he was locked out and asked Dunne for help.
Brandon said: ‘He climbed up the drainpipe into my flat and came back down within about two seconds.
‘That’s obviously how he knew how to do it.’
On the day he was burgled, a friend had gone with Brandon to a nearby shop.
When he returned home about 15 minutes later, cash and tobacco worth a total of about £90 were missing.
Police later found Dunne’s fingerprints around the window to Brandon’s flat near the drainpipe.
But Dunne denied committing the burglary, which happened on July 11 last year, which meant Brandon had to give evidence in court during a trial.
Brandon said: ‘I considered him as my friend, I did. He used to help when I needed help.
‘I used to help him too. He just took advantage of me being blind.
‘After it happened I literally slept in the flat on my own twice. My mate stayed with me every night.
‘He knew how much I used to get scared.’
Speaking of Dunne’s sentence, he said: ‘I’m glad he’s gone to prison. I prefer that because it’s the most devastating punishment for what he did.’
Brandon had lived at the flat in Middle Park Way for about four months when the burglary happened.
He has now moved to Waterlooville as a result of his ordeal: ‘I couldn’t live there any more,’ he said.
‘Even now if I hear or I feel like someone’s there or someone’s coming... he must have targeted me.
‘He knew I was blind, he knew what he was doing.’
He added: ‘If I don’t get my sight back that’s ruined me for life.
‘I won’t feel safe if I can’t see because of him now.
‘It’s so hard to trust people as well. He’s just abused that.’
Dunne, of Bramble Road, Petersfield, was found guilty of burglary and admitted failing to surrender and breaching a seven-month suspended sentence.
Addressing Dunne, Judge Roger Hetherington described the burglary as a ‘mean offence’.
Judge Hetherington said: ‘You took advantage of your inside knowledge about him.’
He added: ‘He has found it tough to come to terms with a loss of trust in someone he thought he knew.’