Sexual harm

Date01 December 2020
Published date01 December 2020
Subject MatterIn court
PRB961630 460..472 466
Probation Journal 67(4)
Depressed and emotionally unstable burglar
Nine days after he had been released following nearly six months on custodial
remand for an alleged offence that was ultimately not prosecuted, W. committed a
commercial burglary (a phone shop at night, stealing £4600 and phones worth
£5000, being caught at the scene). Now aged in his early 30s, he had an
‘appalling record for offences of burglary, in particular commercial burglary’, and
had received several ‘significant sentences’ in the past. As the Court of Appeal later
put it, it was ‘plain that on his release he was in a poor state emotionally and suf-
fering from moderate depression’, made worse by news while on remand that a
cousin to whom he was close had been killed in a road traffic accident. His partner
was imminently anticipating the birth of their first child. Faced with difficulty coping
and feeling suicidal, he had sought help from his GP who had tried unsuccessfully to
link him with a Crisis Centre. When W. later made contact with the Centre himself,
he was placed on a waiting list for grief counselling. Following a row with his
partner, he resorted to the new offence. He later explained that his intention had
been to steal to buy drugs to take to commit suicide.
On his guilty plea, the Crown Court considered a psychiatric report which
documented his traumatic childhood, his early introduction to crime by his uncles
who were burglars, his depressive disorder and emotionally unstable personality
disorder which had developed in particular over the last three to four years, and his
resort to illicit substances and self-harming. On W.’s appeal against 30 months’
imprisonment, the Appeal Court considered that insufficient recognition had been
given to his reduced culpability and was concerned that the judge had not been
referred to the judgment in PS and Others (see above). A term of 24 months was
R v WOODS, [2020] 2 Cr App R(S) 14.
Sexual harm
Unresolved motive for child abduction: SHPO justified?
Four months after incurring a suspended sentence (SSO) for witness intimidation, AB
entered a family home and removed an infant girl (aged 17 months), taking her into
his mother’s home next door. Having been told where her daughter had been taken
the victim’s mother pursued and confronted him, struggling to remove the distressed
child from his arms; he eventually let her go when the victim’s mother told him she
was calling the police. The child had sustained a scratch...

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