A THREE strike burglar who broke into a flat at a hotel has been spared a mandatory three-year jail term after he said he wanted to turn his back on crime.
Former druggie Richard Lowe, who has 133 previous convictions, told a court ‘I have had enough of this life of prison,’ in an impassioned plea from the dock.
And the 37-year-old, who was fresh out of prison, told the judge ‘I am not a burglar’ despite having raided four houses in the past as well as commercial premises.
But despite Recorder Maria Lamb ruling it would be unjust to pass the minimum jail term, Lowe will still have to serve an 18-month sentence.
Tessa Hingston, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court how the burglary took place at The Grove, in Drove Road, on Monday, April 21.
She said after working an evening shift downstairs a member of staff went upstairs to her flat and found her AppleMac laptop missing.
When the CCTV was looked at, a man was seen going up into the staff quarters and then leaving about ten minutes later with something hidden under his clothes. The images were shown to two local police officers and they immediately recognised the intruder.
Lowe, of Cranmore Avenue, Park South, pleaded guilty to burglary.
The court heard that among his 133 previous offences he had been convicted of house burglary on three previous occasions.
He was also jailed for 45 weeks in October last year, only being released from prison in February.
Tony Bignall, defending, said his client, who suffers OCD, depression and anxiety, had been sofa surfing following his release from custody.
He said he had no money and was embarrassed at the age of 37 to be facing prison again. Speaking from the dock, Lowe said: “Can I just say I have got a horrendous record. I can’t remember doing this actual crime.
“The only thing I would like to say is I am deeply sorry. I can’t believe I have put myself in to a dwelling burglary.
“I am not a burglar. If I could speak to the victims I would say I have not rooted through their stuff.
“I have got a new son who is one year old now. I have been clean of drugs for two years but I have started drinking.
“I just want a chance please. I am not saying it to try and get a lesser sentence, I am saying it from my heart so I stop this circle of life.’’ Passing sentence, Recorder Maria Lamb said: “Would it be unjust in the circumstances here to make 18 months rather than the three years and a bit less that the law requires me to do to allow for the guilty plea?
“I do think in all the circumstances of this case it would be unjust to activate that three years less a little bit for credit which would give a sentence of about two years four months. I think the appropriate sentence here is 18 months.’’