Jail for drug addict who clocked up 182 crimes
A SERIAL thief has been caged after clocking up her 182nd criminal conviction.
Drug user Claire MacGarva, 32, had been given a string of chances by the courts.
But at Newcastle Crown Court, Judge James Goss QC locked her up for two years.
The long-term heroin addict had been given a suspended jail term last September but just two weeks later stole a laptop from Sunderland Museum.
Four days later she nicked £12 worth of deodorant from Poundland and £53 of protein products from Holland and Barratt.
On November 29 she stole DVDs and watches worth £311 from Argos.
And on January 4 she was collared taking £35 worth of groceries from Co-op in Tyne and Wear.
MacGarva, of Sunderland, admitted theft and burglary.
She also admitted thefts of £300 worth of food from the Co-op in Houghton le Spring, £26 worth of food from Iceland and televisions worth £396 from Asda.
Judge Goss said: “You are unwilling or unable to stop offending.”
Ian Hudson, defending, said: “Heroin is the catalyst for her offending.” IT TAKES courage and spirit to be a trawlerman – but even the bravest of souls can sometimes be cowed when faced with the might of the North Sea in a bad mood
And even Jimmy was terrified when he was confronted with the worst storm of my career. I’d read and heard about what the sea was capable of. But I’d never witnessed it with my own eyes. We were aboard the Fidelia and headed into a sea of shuddering darkness, like going into a hollow, empty barn. I sat in the wheelhouse feeling pretty scared.
I couldn’t see the water. I barely saw anything in front of me in the wheelhouse, save a few small instrument lights glowing like embers.
The coal black of the sky melted into the sea and the join was invisible.
But I heard its raging. The wind howled as it hit the rigging, screaming at it and shaking it.
Spray was flung across the glass in sharp hisses. I thought, something’s not right out there. I’d never seen the North Sea in such a bleak and brooding mood.
I was scared, for sure. Scared to the point where I was afraid to slow the boat. You’re taught to do whatever the skipper tells you, but a crewman needs a fair amount of common sense and knowhow to do his job properly.
Regardless of instructions, I should’ve known to slow the boat in because that’s the standard practice when a boat is faced with such a catastrophic storm.
We steamed ahead. The sea came. It rose up from the blackness. Tremendous waves, tons and tons of ferocious sea, towering over the wheelhouse, over the Fidelia, and suddenly I felt very, very small. And very, very vulnerable.
The waves crashed down, right on top of the wheelhouse. I heard an ear-snapping bang, and the wheelhouse windows coloured brilliant white.
A moment ago they’d been dark as the belly of a cave, and now they were so white you could fool a man into thinking it’d snowed out on deck.
The wave rocked the boat violently, and our 200 tons of steel seemed insignificant against the power of the sea.
The Fidelia pitched more intensely now, rolling like a cork in a pot of boiling water; we were still steaming ahead at full speed, I was terrified, my hands shaking, and I’d no idea where this lump of water had come from.
I hadn’t seen any warning of it. It was as if it just sprang out of the sea like a fist, pummelling our little boat.
The boat broached on to its side. I could hear everything rattling within the galley, like each object was becoming possessed. Cups, plates, cutlery – whatever wasn’t lashed down was on the move, and moving fast.
The energy of the water relentlessly cascaded down on top of the boat, ton after ton of natural force, overpowering us.
Plates smashed, knives and forks clattered into one another; the rattling din worsened as the Fidelia moved closer and closer to her beam ends, the angle steep, 45 degrees, and the thought flashed across my mind: I’m going to die.
The decks flushed. Water coursed through the galley door, turning the deck into a violent river. The roar of water was all around me, blasting my ears.
The impact of a lump of water lasts seconds. Perhaps one or two. Sometimes it’s not even that; it can be just milliseconds.
It may not seem like a lot, but when you’re on the receiving end of a wave, those small moments seem to stretch on for ever. At the same time, you have this terrible realisation in your guts that you’re not in control of the boat – the wave is.
It’s true what they say, by the way – your life really does pass before your eyes.
You’re already thinking ahead to your death, and how long it’ll take, whether you might drown or freeze, and if so, will it be peaceful?
Or perhaps you’ll suffer. Will anyone ever find me? I don’t want to die.
All these thoughts – they come quick, fast as the lump of water, colliding in your brain at the same time, and you cannot focus on one of them.
You’re just aware of these things as everything around you threatens to break apart.
While the boat was broached, I’d still kept her going at full speed. The Fidelia swayed. I could feel the dramatic energy of the waves, like an electrical current.
The boat was unable to maintain its course and keeling over, but drawing on every ounce of its 200 tons of steel to cope with the pressure the sea applied against it.
And then, in the passing of another second, she slowly returned upright, like a dazed boxer picking himself up off the canvas.
As she levelled out, torrents of water surged all around the wheelhouse. Water poured down the vents. I was in a state of pure shock, awestruck by the storm that was beating around me.
I was pinned to that seat, unable to move, like a deer caught in the headlights of an onrushing car.
As the boat struggled to right itself, the skipper James Donn had woken up.
He’d obviously felt the boat swaying and knew that something bad was afoot, especially seeing as water had piled into the cabin.
He came up the stairs to get to the wheelhouse and the sea flooded down on top of him, drenching him through and through.
Finally he managed to climb up, where he found me speechless and frozen to