Jail for drug ad­dict who clocked up 182 crimes

Midweek Sport - - NEWS -

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

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