7th Dec, 2019

Studley mother jailed after burglary offences including targeting home of 92 year-old

Correspondent 24th Jun, 2017 Updated: 30th Jun, 2017

A STUDLEY mother who escaped with a ‘merciful’ suspended sentence for burglary has run out of chances after repeatedly failing to attend probation appointments.

A judge at Warwick Crown Court told Christine Thornton she was lucky not to have been jailed in the first place for the offences, which had included burgling the home of a 92-year-old woman.

He ordered Thornton, age 54 of The Maltings, to serve five months of the 12-month suspended sentence after she pleaded guilty to breaching the terms of the sentence.

It had been imposed in March after Thornton pleaded guilty to the burglary of a house in Studley, and the attempted burglary of another house in the village.

He pointed out that she had appeared before him in May for failing to turn up for appointments, and he had adjourned the case to give her an opportunity to engage with the probation service – but she had still failed to do so.

Christopher Jones, defending, asked for Thornton to be given one final chance to comply with the order.

Jailing Thornton, Judge Lockhart told her: “You are a mother of a child who has significant difficulties, and those difficulties are such that he is likely to need pretty much full-time care.

“But in the early part of 2016 you committed some serious offences, the burglary of a 92-year-old’s home and the attempted burglary of another property.

“You were arrested and spoke of being in financial dire straits, and you were sentenced to 12 months suspended for 12 months, with a 20-day rehabilitation requirement.

“It was a merciful sentence which gave you every opportunity to live in the community and to carry out work which would have assisted you.”

But he outlined that she even failed to attend her first appointment.

“You came before me, and I read the papers and offered you the opportunity of a four-week adjournment, giving you every opportunity to comply with the rehabilitation activity requirement.”

Judge Lockhart said Thornton failed to turn up for that next hearing, so a warrant was issued for her arrest.

When it was executed and she was brought back in front of him, he gave her yet another chance to engage with the probation service by adjourning for a further week.

But despite repeated attempts to assist her, she still failed to comply with the order.

And Judge Lockhart told Thornton: “I am driven to conclude, sadly, that we are at the end of a long and rocky road.

“If these orders are not complied with, then eventually the courts are driven to take a course they did not wish to take.

“Everyone has done everything they can to assist you. It is with heavy heart that I find myself driven to conclude it would be anything but unjust for me to impose part of the sentence.”

Praising the police officer who had dealt with Thornton, the judge added: “The detective constable has gone well beyond the call of duty, and has done everything he could to assist her, when many officers would simply have turned their backs.”

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