From Benidorm to prison dorm: Violent Harrow burglar seized in Spain is jailed for more than 8 years

Community safety

Police traced James Connors to Benidorm

A violent burglar who fled to Spain following a housebreaking spree in Harrow is back in the UK and safely behind bars after DNA evidence led to an international manhunt – and an arrest by the shores of the Mediterranean.

James Connors (pictured below), 43, was part of a gang which stole gold from Asian homes across North-West London. But, in December, a burglary in West Drive, Harrow Weald, turned violent when the gang was surprised by a brave homeowner.

Police, Community Safety, Benidorm

James Connors fled to Spain after the attack

Connors and his accomplices assaulted the 50-year-old man, only to flee when the homeowner’s son, 25, joined the fray. Connors, however, left blood on a plant pot at the scene – meaning his swift escape via the Eurotunnel, all the way to holiday resort Benidorm (pictured left), was all in vain.

Spanish police pounced in January, and this month Connors, of no fixed address, was back in the UK to plead guilty to aggravated burglary. He received 8 years and 3 months in prison.

Inspector Tanya Sprunks, in charge of Harrow Neighbourhoods, said: “Thankfully in this case, neither of the victims needed hospital treatment. These pre-meditated burglaries are hugely upsetting for the people concerned.

“We are urging residents in the borough to be especially vigilant. Please let us know immediately about any suspicious behaviour and report any criminal or unusual activities to us. You can call the police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.”

Cllr Krishna Suresh, Portfolio Holder for Crime and Community Safety, said: “No one can dodge the law – the good guys fight crime around the world, leaving no stone unturned all the way from Stanmore to Spain.

“It’s great to see the police cracking down and protecting Harrow’s residents, so that they can feel safe in their homes. We will continue to do everything we can to see justice served. Criminals such as Connors will get their just deserts.”

The homeowner was punched in the jaw and hit on the head before his son was attacked with a tennis racket during the burglary on December 1, Harrow Crown Court heard. Both were treated at the scene by the London Ambulance Service. The gang fled the house empty-handed.

Police later found blood on a plant pot in the garden where one suspect stood threatening the victim. Connors was identified and later found to have skipped the UK by car via the Eurotunnel just days later on December 3. He was traced to Benidorm, arrested and extradited back to the UK on December 21. He was charged on January 10.

Two other suspects remain at large.