GUILTY OF 244 CRIMES
PROLIFIC THIEF WHO HAD 243 PREVIOUS CONVICTIONS TO HIS NAME IS JAILED YET AGAIN FOR CITY RAID
A PROLIFIC burglar with nearly 250 convictions, including more than 100 for theft, has been jailed after ransacking a woman’s home while high on crack cocaine.
Sentencing at Cardiff Crown Court, Judge Stephen Hopkins QC said he had never seen a defendant with so many convictions and described Simon Woodland’s record as “staggering”.
James Evans, defending, accepted his client’s record of offending was “very extensive”.
Woodland and his co-defendant David Ouahchia both admitted burgling a property on Llandaff Road in Canton, Cardiff, in the early hours of December 9.
Ouahchia also admitted two other burglaries which occurred earlier that day.
The court heard he entered Romilly Nursing Home in Canton as a trespasser and stole handbags belonging to staff and residents.
Prosecutor John Warren said Ouahchia then committed a shed burglary at nearby Melrose Court.
A local resident was woken at around 6am and reported seeing two men in a neighbour’s garden. She told police they were carrying bags and she saw them leave her neighbour’s property with a suitcase.
Prosecutors said the two men then went on to Llandaff Road, where they broke into a property by smashing the glass kitchen door.
The court heard they stole items including a bike, television, laptop, jewellery and purse containing bank cards.
Mr Warren said the occupant was away overnight and returned to find police at her home – but could not immediately tell what had been stolen as the burglars had left such a mess.
The prosecutor said the victim’s home was “ransacked” with her belongings “strewn around”, door smashed and fence panels damaged.
She told officers she was “sick” and “very upset” to find her home had been burgled.
Police searched the area and identified the men using CCTV images from the nursing home and descriptions from witnesses.
Woodland was found to be wearing a stolen gold watch, while Ouahchia was wearing five sets of clothes.
The pair were arrested and Ouahchia gave a no comment interview. Woodland told officers he was high on crack cocaine.
Woodland, 49, of Fishguard Close, Llanishen, admitted one count of burglary.
The court heard he had a total of 243 previous convictions, including more than 100 for theft and 20 for burglary offences.
Judge Hopkins said: “I don’t think I have ever come across so many offences on a record.”
Defence barrister Mr Evans said his client suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and pointed out his rate of offending had lessened.
He said: “My client is intensely frustrated that he has got himself back into this situation he finds himself in now. For the first time in his life, he was really making efforts to reform.”
Mr Evans stressed Woodland pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and said he “felt sorry” for his victims.
Ouahchia, 25, of Woodville Road, Cathays, admitted three counts of burglary.
The court heard he had 10 previous convictions and the judge described his record as “less dreadful”.
Lowri Wynn Morgan, defending, said her client came to the UK legitimately as a child, but was “abandoned” when his family were deported back to Croatia. She said he “fell into bad habits” and developed a drug addiction, but had since sought help.
Ms Wynn Morgan handed a letter of apology from her client to the judge and said he wished to apologise to the victims.
Judge Hopkins told the defendants: “People often feel violated as a result of having their homes entered – some even have to sell up and move on.”
Woodland was jailed for four years and six months and Ouahchia for two years and four months.
Simon Woodland, who had 243 previous convictions, has been jailed for burglary