Judge tells burglar he has huge amount of courage before allowing him to walk free from court (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Judge tells burglar he has huge amount of courage before allowing him to walk free from court
6:00am Thursday 6th September 2012 in News
BURGLARS must have a “huge amount of courage” to break into people’s houses, a judge declared as he allowed a serial intruder walk to free from court.
Judge Peter Bowers added that prison did little good for anyone and admitted he could be pilloried for his decision to let Richard Rochford go free after he admitted to a string of burglaries.
Rochford was facing a term of two-and-a-half years when the judge decided against custody, accepting he had been harmed by prison after becoming addicted to heroin treatment drug Subutex.
He carried out one raid while his girlfriend, Amy Kyme, who also escaped a jail term, acted as a lookout.
Judge Bowers told Rochford, 26, at Teesside Crown Court: “It takes a huge amount of courage, as far as I can see, for somebody to burgle somebody’s house. I wouldn’t have the nerve.
“Yet somehow, bolstered by drugs and desperation, you were prepared to do that.”
He also said Rochford had been damaged by prison and added: “I think prison very rarely does anybody any good.
“I don’t think anybody would benefit from sending you to prison today. We’d all just feel a bit easier that a burglar had been taken off the streets.”
Rochford burgled three homes in east Cleveland and tried to burgle another in the space of five days.
Judge Bowers said he deserved to be jailed for two-and-a-half years and anything less would not satisfy the public.
But, instead, he handed him a two-year supervision order, and the threat of a 30-month jail sentence if he appeared in court again.
Judge Bowers acknowledged that the victims would have suffered as a result of the crimes, adding: “For months and months and sometimes years, they never recover.”
The court heard Rochford had rid himself of a drug habit since the burglaries in February.
Judge Bowers said: “What you have done since I find rather extraordinary and something which doesn’t often happen.
“I’m going to take a chance on you, an extraordinary chance, one which I don’t often take.”
He followed the recommendation of a pre-sentence report and gave Rochford, of Westbourne Grove, Redcar , a two-year supervision order with drug rehabilitation and 200 hours’ unpaid work, with a one-year driving ban.
Rochford admitted two burglaries and asked for one more burglary and one attempted burglary to be taken into account.
Kyme, of Durham Road, Redcar, admitted burglary and handling stolen goods.
Each admitted a charge of aggravated vehicle taking.
Graham Brown, mitigating, said Rochford’s downfall occurred when he was introduced to Subutex while in prison.
He said: “It scarred his life. The system failed him.”
Peter Wishlade, for Kyme who had no previous convictions, said she was distinctly remorseful and unlikely to end up in court again.
She was given a one-year prison sentence suspended for 18 months with a 20-week 7pm to 7am curfew.