Burglar let off prison sentence

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First published in News

A BURGLAR who brandished a jar of mayonnaise at the occupants of a house after breaking in during the dead of night has walked free from court.

Sean Berry smashed his way in to the property where three generations of the same family, including a number of children, were sleeping.

But despite the fact the 20-year-old was on early release from prison for other burglaries, a judge imposed a six week suspended sentence.

Claire Marlow, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court how two brothers, their families and parents were all living in a house on Whitbourne Avenue, in the Parks.

One of the brothers was woken in the early hours of May 11 and was confronted by the mayo wielding intruder.

She said: “At about 1.30 in the morning he was awoken by a bang. He got up and went to the toilet.

“As he left the bathroom he saw a male who he didn’t know standing outside the bathroom with a jar of mayonnaise in his hand.

“He shouted ‘There’s an intruder’ and went downstairs. He managed to detain the man in the garden until the police arrived.”

She said it was discovered that the patio door had been smashed, which was the bang which woke the householder.

When the defendant was questioned he said he could recall little of the incident because of the drink and drugs he had consumed and he thought it was his home.

He said he had shared a bottle of vodka with a friend before having 20 to 30 Jaegerbombs in a club where he was offered some drugs which made him ‘feel funny’.

“He left the pub and went to where he thought was his home. At that stage he said he thought he was in his own home,” she said.

Berry, of Axbridge Close, Park North, pleaded guilty to a charge of burglary.

The court heard he was on early release from prison for an 18 month sentence imposed last year for 11 house burglaries and one attempt.

And at the time those were committed he was on a suspended sentence for robbery and was ordered to serve just under six months on top for that.

Rob Ross, defending, said his client had committed the previous offences when he was in the grip of a drug addiction which he beat while in prison.

Urging the court not to jail him, he said: “This is a young man who is at a crossroads in his life.”

He said he had been recalled to serve a further 28 days of the previous sentence and his girlfriend is now pregnant.

Passing sentence, Recorder Harry Martineau said: “He presents as someone who will man up and grow up and become a good father.

“You may well have been drunk, more or less, out of your mind when you broke into that house that night.

“You probably didn’t consider at all the effect that would have on the unfortunate people who lived there.

“Luckily the people you actually encountered were grown men who were capable of looking after you and making sure you didn’t get away.

“Luckily I don’t have to sentence you on the basis that you bumped into and terrified a child or woman in that house in the small hours of that morning.

“But it is plain from the statements that I have read that your presence in that house caused enormous distress and upset and indeed causes ongoing feelings of insecurity in the people who live in that house.”

He imposed the six month sentence, suspended for 18 months, noting he had served two months in custody on remand, and told him to do 100 hours of unpaid work.

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