Teen burglar fails to get lighter sentence

A TEENAGER who stole from an elderly lady when he knew her husband was ill in hospital has failed to convince the courts to lessen his sentence.

Keiron William Magee (19) of Church Street, Market Deeping, took jewellery of great sentimental value to a grandmother of one of his friends, who had invited him into her house and “treated him like a grandson”.

Magee was sent to a young offenders’ institution for 21 months at Lincoln Crown Court in February after he admitted burglary and breaching a community order.

However, his lawyers argued the sentence was “manifestly excessive” and challenged it at London’s Court of Appeal.

Three senior judges threw out Magee’s arguments, ruling that he deserved every day of his prison term.

Mr Justice Sweeney told the court Magee was charged with battery after he hit a man who would not give him a cigarette in the street, and was bailed at Spalding Magistrates Court last year.

While on bail, the judge said Magee went round to the house of a friend’s 80-year-old grandmother after finding out the pensioner’s husband was ill in hospital.

He believed the woman was visiting her ailing husband, the court heard, but she returned early and found him in her garden.

Thinking he was waiting for her grandson, the elderly lady invited Magee in, made him a drink and let him watch TV.

But the court heard how Magee sneaked upstairs and stole four necklaces worth more than £1,000 from her jewellery box and bedside table.

He then pretended to be upset and left, but was arrested after a window was found to have been forced and his fingerprints were discovered in the bedroom.

Magee originally claimed he was not to blame, but later admitted he had stole the jewellery to pay off a drug debt. Lord Justice Hooper said it was a typical case of a drug addict targeting those he knew to fund his habit.

The judge said Magee, who had a previous conviction for a similar crime, had failed to turn up to any of the unpaid work he was ordered to complete for the battery offence.

Lawyers for Magee claimed the sentencing judge over-estimated the seriousness of the burglary, and should have given more consideration to Magee’s young age.

But Mr Justice Sweeney, sitting with Lord Justice Hooper and Mr Justice Stadlen, rejected their arguments and upheld the sentence.

He said: “This burglary was in our view a bad offence of its type that fully merited the sentence imposed...it was committed in a most flagrant breach of trust; trust in the appellant by a complainant in her 80s, who regarded the appellant as a friend and treated him like a grandson.

“There is clearly trauma to the victim beyond the usual consequences of intrusion and theft. The victim was both elderly and vulnerable, present when the property was stolen and the property stolen was of high sentimental value.”