Jail for stealing treasured jewellery from widower, 85

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A recently-widowed pensioner’s home was broken into and property belonging to his late wife was stolen after relatives had taken him on holiday.

And when his son was contacted by the police he did not want to tell the 85-year-old what had happened because it would have been so upsetting for him, a judge heard.

Kyle Smith pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to two charges of burglary at houses in Wolvey and asked for three more burglaries to be taken into consideration.

Smith, 21, of Eskdale, Brownsover, Rugby, who also admitted possessing amphetamine and damaging a police car, was jailed for three years.

Prosecutor Aliya Rashid said that in July Smith broke into a house in Wolvey, after the elderly owner, who had recently lost his wife, had been taken on holiday by his son and other family members.

While they were away the police contacted his son to tell him of the burglary, but he did not want to inform his father at the time for fear of upsetting him.

Among the property stolen was a gold watch which had belonged to his late wife’s mother and which had been passed on to her, and a pair of her earrings.

Also in July Smith broke into another house in Wolvey, this time at night while the owners were asleep upstairs, by pulling a kitchen window out of its frame.

He and an accomplice stole a handbag, jewellery, a phone and the keys to the couple’s cars – and then drove off in the husband’s Jaguar, which was parked on the drive, and which has not been recovered.

Smith was arrested after the police went to an address with a search warrant and saw him in a car outside.

He ran off, but was chased and caught, having discarded a watch and jewellery as he fled.

When he was arrested and searched, he was found to have four bags of amphetamine and £130 in cash on him, and on the way to the police station he headbutted and kicked the door of the police car so hard that it bent out of shape.

Smith admitted taking part in the burglaries, but claimed he was involved with others and that he did not get much benefit from them. He also owned up to three break-ins committed in 2008, last year and earlier this year.

Mrs Rashid added that Smith had a conviction in 2007 for a domestic burglary, as well as one for a commercial break-in and for thefts of vehicles.

Colin Charville, defending, said the watch taken in the first burglary had been recovered.

Jailing Smith, Judge Philip Gregory told him: “Although you are only 21, you already have a lengthy record, including a conviction for a dwelling house burglary.

“I have to deal with you in effect for five more dwelling house burglaries.

“The first was a serious offence.

“You entered the home of an elderly man of 85; and from his home valuable items of jewellery, which must have had great sentimental value as well, were taken.

“Only a custodial sentence is appropriate, and it has to be a significant one.”