Prolific burglar's sentence 'pathetic'

A SHELTERED housing manager last night described as “pathetic” the community rehabilitation order imposed on a prolific burglar caught in the flat of a 92-year-old woman.

A SHELTERED housing manager last night described as “pathetic” the community rehabilitation order imposed on a prolific burglar caught in the flat of a 92-year-old woman.

Kenny Jones had 21 previous convictions for burglary before he broke into Barlings Court sheltered housing scheme in Newmarket.

He appeared in court this week and was sentenced to an 18-month community rehabilitation order.

Last night, manager of the housing scheme Marion McFarlane , who pursued Jones down a busy Suffolk street, hit out at the penalty.


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She said: “I came face to face with the man in court and I thought this was an opportunity for some justice.

“We had to give evidence in court, which was quite distressing and not a nice experience, but we thought it would be worth it.

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“The whole incident was quite shocking for the residents and a I think custodial sentence would have been the only suitable punishment. But to give such a pathetic and shocking sentence is just a waste of time.”

Jones, of Victoria Road, Cambridge, was sentenced to an 18-month community rehabilitation order on Tuesday despite Ipswich Crown Court hearing that he had 21 previous convictions for burglary.

He had been found in a flat by a 92-year-old resident, Kathleen Abrey , before then going into an unoccupied flat in the same building during a desperate search for money.

Mrs McFarlane, who with some of the home's elderly residents was called to give evidence during Jones' trial, challenged the 44-year-old before following him as he drove away from the sheltered unit.

Mrs McFarlane said: “We had just finished playing bingo when one lady came down and said there was a man in her room. I approached him but he didn't seem to be making much sense.

“He started to get agitated and said he needed to leave the building. I said I was going to call the police but he said he would come back and get me if I did.

“We then followed him along Newmarket High Street before he was arrested. It was only afterwards that I realised what could have happened.”

Jones had denied two offences of attempted burglary but was found guilty after a trial at Ipswich Crown Court in September.

Sentencing him, Recorder Christopher Vajda said that he was taking an exceptional course in not sending Jones to prison.

Satyanand Beharrylal , for Jones, said his client had been diagnosed as suffering from schizophrenia and, at the time of the offence, the defendant was using drugs and lacked stability in his life.

He was now receiving help for his problems and was managing to stay away from drink and drugs while undertaking voluntary community work.

West Suffolk MP Richard Spring said: “When you get a case such as this, it can cause a great deal of alarm and distress and the community have to be assured that somebody has not been given too lenient a treatment.”

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