Woman came face to face with bur­glar

Nuneaton Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE -

A HEART­LESS bur­glar who stole a dis­abled man’s mo­bil­ity scooter dur­ing a se­ries of break-ins has been spared a lengthy jail sen­tence – be­cause the judge doesn’t want him mix­ing with bad char­ac­ters he had been “try­ing to get away from”.

James Hill, of Ec­cles Close, Coven­try, had pleaded guilty at War­wick Crown Court to three bur­glar­ies, in­clud­ing break­ing into a Coven­try home while a mother and her four chil­dren were sleep­ing up­stairs.

De­fence lawyer Ian Speed told the court he had rep­re­sented three gen­er­a­tions of the Hill fam­ily in crim­i­nal pro­ceed­ings and it was “quite amaz­ing” how the 21-year-old had man­aged to avoid a con­vic­tion un­til this point.

But he ar­gued that send­ing him to prison would see him re­united with oth­ers from Wood End who he had been “try­ing to get away from”.

Deputy Judge Richard Grif­fithJones jailed Hill for 16 months and said his sen­tence would have been “con­sid­er­ably longer” if not for his lawyer’s ar­gu­ment.

He added: “You have to go to cus­tody, but it’s nec­es­sary to en­sure you are not there so long that you be­come en­trenched in the cul­ture.”

The first break-in hap­pened on De­cem­ber 1 at the Coven­try home of a vul­ner­a­ble dis­abled man, pros­e­cu­tor Graham Rus­sell told the court.

The dis­abled man came home to find the garage of his Yew­dale Close home had been bro­ken into and his £2,000 mo­bil­ity scooter was miss­ing.

The ve­hi­cle had been spe­cially adapted so he could carry his tackle when he went fish­ing – his “great­est pas­sion” – and his fish­ing rod and nets had also been swiped.

Po­lice of­fi­cers re­cov­ered CCTV from a lo­cal shop which showed Hill and an­other per­son load­ing the stolen prop­erty into a van.

Then on De­cem­ber 13, the court heard how a woman and her four chil­dren were in bed at their home in Hornsey Close, Coven­try, when Hill broke in in the early hours of the morn­ing.

The woman was wo­ken at 4.30am by Hill in her bed­room, and he ran out when she chal­lenged him. He es­caped from the house with prop­erty in­clud­ing a £1,200 42-inch television.

A neigh­bour wo­ken by a noise out­side saw him cy­cling away try­ing to pull a wheelie bin.

The same night Hill had also bro­ken into the shed of a house in nearby Her­mes Cres­cent, from where he had stolen tools and fish­ing tackle.

A po­lice of­fi­cer who had been called to deal with the house bur­glary spot­ted Hill in Her­mes Cres­cent and called to him.

He ran off, but was in­ter­cepted and ar­rested, and on him he had bank cards taken dur­ing the Hornsey Close break-in.

The po­lice went to Caradoc Court, where he was liv­ing at the time, and found a wheelie bin con­tain­ing the television, a fish­ing rod and other prop­erty taken in the two bur­glar­ies.

CCTV from the block showed Hill get­ting into the lift with the wheelie bin, and a record­ing from a lo­cal shop had cap­tured him mak­ing con­tact­less pur­chases us­ing a stolen card he had re­ceived af­ter it had been taken in an­other bur­glary.

Ian Speed, de­fend­ing, con­ceded: “I know I start off with an up­hill bat­tle.

“He’s fright­ened of im­pris­on­ment. He’s wor­ried he will be taken into the pro­tec­tion of other peo­ple from Wood End who he’s been try­ing to get away from.”

Mr Speed said that Hill had ‘found co­caine,’ which he could not af­ford, and was be­ing en­cour­aged by his sup­pli­ers to com­mit crime to fund it.

But jail­ing Hill, Deputy Judge Richard Grif­fith-Jones told him: “I can­not pass over con­vic­tions like this.

“You have got to go to cus­tody, but there is some force in that which Mr Speed sub­mits on your be­half. You have to go to cus­tody, but it’s nec­es­sary to en­sure you are not there so long that you be­come en­trenched in the cul­ture. It would have been con­sid­er­ably longer if it had not been for the sub­mis­sions made on your be­half.”

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