08:00 Wednesday 29 February 2012

Jail for man who stole his own gran's funeral cash

Written byROB SMYTH

A 22-YEAR-OLD man who stole £800 from his grandma’s funeral savings has been jailed.

Burton Magistrates CourtDavid Shaw, of New Road, Hilton, pleaded guilty to theft when he appeared at Burton Magistrates’ Court yesterday and was sentenced to 16 weeks in prison.

It was revealed that he stole the cash from 89-year-old Muriel Owen’s wardencontrolled flat off Orchard Street, Burton, between May 15 and June 8 last year.

Emma Thompson, prosecuting, said: “In preparation for her funeral, Mrs Owen was withdrawing around £400 a week and was keeping it in her home in a tin.

“She thought only her daughter, who went with her to take the money out of the bank, knew where she kept it but Shaw found it and took £800.” He was arrested on June 16 and, during initial questioning by the police, denied all knowledge of the cash and the offence.

However, he was charged and appeared in court on January 15, entering an initial not guilty plea.

Catherine McGarva, defending, said: “My client understands that there is an obvious breach of trust involving a vulnerable victim.

“I have spoken to his mum, the victim’s daughter, who tells me that the impact on the family has caused ripples across all the relationships.

“Both his parents don’t want to see their son in prison but equally are also aware of the impact on the victim. He is aware of what he has done.”

Miss McGarva revealed that Shaw’s parents believed his descent into crime began following a skateboarding accident which left him with face fractures and swelling of the brain, claiming the 22- year-old had never fully recovered from the trauma.

Shaw was already in custody serving 16 weeks after being found guilty of two counts of theft on January 23.

It was also revealed during the hearing that the defendant had a large number of previous convictions for shoplifting, burglary and theft.

Presiding magistrate Margaret Gawthorpe said: “We are to send you to prison for 16 weeks as the offence was so serious, we feel it only can be dealt with by custody.”

Magistrates said that Shaw’s family had told the court they would make sure he repaid all the money stolen upon his release from prison.

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