A man who broke into a tutor’s room in Wadham in February has been sentenced to four years in prison for burglary.

Jason Callaghan was given a sentence of three and a half years for burglary and attempted theft, and six months for assault.

Callaghan entered Giula Zanderighi’s room on February 10. Zanderighi, a Physics fellow, found him there at 7pm. When she discovered him he had moved a laptop and disconnected some cables.

She escorted Callaghan out of the college at which point he began to run on to South Parks Road, where Zanderighi pursued him, calling for help. He was caught and pinned to the ground by two men, until the police arrived. In the course of the struggle, he assaulted one of the men, having informed them that he had a knife.

Callaghan told police that he was “just using the toilet” and that “the door [of Zanderighi’s room] was open.” He claimed that the laptop had been knocked onto the floor after he had banged his head.

Callaghan, who later pleaded guilty to the crime, has 29 previous convictions since 1990 for over 80 offences, mostly for theft or criminal damage.

He was sentenced to three years in prison for breaking into a student’s bedroom in Lincoln College in October 2004, and 21 months for burglary of another college room in Wadham in November 2006. At the time of the latest offence he had been out of prison for two months.

The defence attorney rejected the supposition that Jason Callaghan was a dangerous man. The assault, he claimed, was a futile attempt to ward off his pursuers who had, “forcibly confronted him”.

Callaghan had been previously convicted of attempted robbery, but this was quashed. A pre-sentence report did not mention any risk of physical harm.

The judge told Callaghan that his catalogue of offences made “depressing reading”. She said, “Until you sort yourself out, there’s really not much hope for you outside in the community.” The crime, she said, was “unpleasant” but “a daytime offence in premises that were unoccupied.”

Callaghan’s offences are linked to a long-standing heroin addiction, and various psychological problems.

The court gave Joseph Valentine, one of the men who restrained Callaghan, a £250 Community Award for courage shown in pursuing him.