GUILTY OF 244 CRIMES

PRO­LIFIC THIEF WHO HAD 243 PRE­VI­OUS CON­VIC­TIONS TO HIS NAME IS JAILED YET AGAIN FOR CITY RAID

South Wales Echo - - FRONT PAGE - LIZ DAY Re­porter liz.day@waleson­line.co.uk

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

David Ouahchia

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