Leiston: Couple’s message to knife raider: ‘We forgive you’
THE VICTIMS of a terrifying knife-point burglary have told the former soldier who broke into their home: “We forgive you.”
Retired vicar Reverend Basil Jenkyns and his wife Jean, both in their 80s, said their concern now was for the welfare of teenager Kenneth Doyle after he was sentenced to four years in prison.
The Grenadier Guard - now 18 - claimed he was so desperate to leave the army he went absent without leave and committed the crime as a “spectacularly stupid” way of quitting the forces.
During the raid Doyle, who was just 17 at the time, burst into the couple’s bedroom brandishing a 12” carving knife which he then held against Mrs Jenkyns face while he demanded the car keys.
Speaking to the East Anglian Daily Times after the sentence Canon Jenkyns, who holds the title of Canon of Wells Cathedral in Somerset, said he and his wife had hoped Doyle would have been spared jail.
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“I bear him no malice whatsoever,” he said. “I say ‘forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us’ every Sunday. If you can’t put those words into practice it’s a bad job.
“I just think he was an idiot. I’m just incredibly thankful he came to us and did not go to one of the other houses close to us.
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“I would not like to see him damaged for life and want him to learn from it and be able to pick himself up. But I think he will have a heck of a job.
“He needs to realise what he did was criminal but I think society needs to think of how do we stop this chap going down the wrong road in future.
“This is going to destroy his life. I feel terribly bad about that because he’s only 18. He’s hurt his family. In one moment of sheer lunacy he’s wrecked his life.”
Canon Jenkyns said the couple managed to retain their composure even though they were awoken by Doyle after he smashed through their front door. Canon Jenkyns even tried to reason with the soldier as he became more and more agitated.
He added: “I said ‘you are a bloody loony – you will be in serious, serious trouble for all this’. He said ‘I am already. I’m AWOL’.
“I wasn’t quite sure whether it was a dream. It was all over so quickly. The police were marvellous.”
Ipswich Crown Court heard how Doyle had been drinking before breaking in to the house in Leiston at around 2.30am on July 29 this year.
After putting the couple through the ordeal he fled in Canon Jenkyns’ Vauxhall Corsa before stopping just a mile down the road.
A police officer who approached the car heard the sound of sobbing and when he told Doyle to get out the defendant told him: “I’ve done a stupid thing. I didn’t want to be in the army any more. I just want to go to prison.”
A breath test showed that Doyle was just over the legal drink limit.
Doyle, of St Margaret’s Crescent, Leiston, admitted robbery and drink driving. He was sentenced to four years detention in a young offender’s insitution and banned from driving for 12 months.
Sentencing him Judge David Goodin described the offence as “exceptionally serious”. “You came through the bedroom door with a knife in your hand. It is difficult to imagine anything more frightening short of a fatality,” the judge said.
He accepted Doyle had been unhappy in the army and may have committed the robbery as a way of getting out.
He said that Doyle holding he knife against Mrs Jenkyns’ cheek must have been an “indescribably frightening experience” for her but he accepted that he felt genuine remorse for what he had done.
David Wilson, for Doyle, said his client had joined the army after leaving school at 16 because he wanted to help support his family who were in debt.
However, he had been unhappy and had committed the offence as a “specacularly stupid” way of getting out of the army after reaching the end of his tether.
“There were a number of ways he could have ended his army career but this was as foolish and stupid as it gets,” said Mr Wilson.