A former serviceman has been jailed for two years and eight months for attempting to burgle Wayne Rooney’s mansion while the footballer played in his testimonial match.
Robert McNamara, 25, from Scarborough, North Yorkshire, admitted attempting to enter as a trespasser at the Manchester United striker’s family home in Prestbury, Cheshire, with intent to steal on August 3 – the night United played his former club Everton at Old Trafford.
In a victim impact statement read at Chester Crown Court, the player’s wife Coleen said the incident had caused sleepless nights and had made her fear for the safety of their three children while playing in the garden.
Jo Maxwell, prosecuting, said McNamara, of Newby Farm Crescent, Scalby, had entered the grounds of the family’s home at about 8.30pm and had activated the perimeter alarm system.
CCTV showed him walking around the grounds, with his face covered by a balaclava, and trying a door handle.
The court heard police searching the grounds later found a rucksack, containing items including cable ties, a head torch and a balaclava, which had McNamara’s DNA on it.
When police searched his home, after arresting him six days later, they found a second rucksack containing a ski mask with black tape over it, which the court heard could have been used as a blindfold.
Police described seeing a man acting suspiciously when they arrived at the home but said he got into his car and drove away after seeing them arrive.
In a victim impact statement which was read to the court, Mrs Rooney said: “After it happened it caused sleepless nights, worrying and watching security cameras fearing someone was there.
“I feared for my children playing outside in the garden and still do.”
She said it caused anxiety when her husband was away and she no longer felt comfortable in the home unless a friend or family member was with her.
She said the couple had spent extra money on security since the incident.
Mrs Rooney said she and the family, including the couple’s sons Kai, Klay and Kit, had been at the tribute game at Old Trafford for what was meant to be a “night of celebration”, but she had returned home to find the house full of police.
She said: “I’m just happy the children were asleep and didn’t have to see what was going on.”
Taryn Jones Turner, defending, said McNamara had served seven years in the armed forces and had “not found life on Civvy Street as easy as he expected that it would be”.
She said since the incident he had been diagnosed with bipolar affective disorder and was receiving medication, as well as being given support by the British Legion.
Sentencing, Judge Patrick Thompson said: “It’s concerning as to what your intent would have been had you gained entrance to the property and come across somebody else.”
He added: “I find it was no coincidence that this was the night of Wayne Rooney’s testimonial and you knew he would be away from the house.”
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