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R v Collins [1973] 3 WLR 243 Court of Appeal

The defendant was charged with burglary. He had climbed a ladder to an open window where a young woman was sleeping naked in her bed. He descended the ladder and stripped down to his socks then climbed up again. The woman awoke and saw him at the window. She thought it was her boyfriend so invited him in. It was not clear, and neither party could recall whether he was inside or outside the window when she invited him in. They proceeded to have sexual intercourse. She then realised it was not her boyfriend and screamed for him to get off. He ran off. The following day he was questioned by the police and charged with burglary under s.9(1)(a) on the grounds that he entered as a trespasser with the intent to commit rape. (He could not be charged with rape as the woman had consented to sexual intercourse). The jury convicted. The defendant appealed on the grounds of a misdirection as the jury had not been asked to consider if he was a trespasser at the time of entry.


His conviction was quashed. It was held that there must be an effective and substantial entry with knowledge or being reckless as to being a trespasser. Consent of the home owner (the girl's parents) was not required it was sufficient that the girl had invited him in.

Lord Justice Edmund Davies:

"Unless the jury were entirely satisfied that the Appellant made an effective and substantial entry into the bedroom without the complainant doing or saying anything to cause him to believe that she was consenting to his entering it, he ought not to be convicted of the offence charged."
Back to lecture outline on The Law of Burglary