At Exeter Crown Court, it was explained that Brad McGauley was drunk and under the influence of drugs when he was spotted by Rowe’s wife on January 1.
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The intruder admitted attempted burglary and two counts of arson. He also pleaded guilty to two counts of vehicle interference and possession of a weapon.
After his wife Sharon disturbed the burglar when he tried to open the patio doors, Rowe pursued McGauley in his car.
After eventually tracking him down, it was claimed the burglar threatened Rowe with an object the 71-year-old Exeter owner thought was a pole but could have been a sword.
The court heard that McGauley had already crashed his BMW into a hedge on the edge of Woodbury Salterton and started four fires at a house in the village. He went on to break into two cars.
Adjourning sentencing, Judge Timothy Rose said: “He had a sword in his hand and wearing a fearsome mask on his face. They [the victims] must have been petrified.”
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