Deeping St James burglar loses High Court appeal

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A burglar from Deeping St James who snatched prized jewellery from a woman’s home after he went off the rails due to drugs has failed in a bid to clear his name.

Gavin Mark Coles, 37, was locked up for five years at Lincoln Crown Court in November 2016 after jurors convicted him of the raid.

London’s Appeal Court heard Coles’ victim returned home to find her house in Crowson Way, Deeping St James, had been broken into.

“A considerable amount of property had been stolen”, including three rings, a watch and a camera, said Lord Justice Irwin.

One of the rings was particularly precious - having belonged to the householder’s grandmother. She had planned in time to pass it on to her own daughter, the court heard.

Coles, of Spalding Road, was a drug user and had previous convictions for burglary.

But the trained carpenter claimed that his trial was unfair and his conviction should be overturned.

His legal team argued that the trial judge wrongly allowed evidence of Coles’ bad character to go before the jury. The prosecution case was weak and there was no direct evidence linking him to the break-in, it was claimed.

But Lord Justice Irwin, sitting with two other judges, said the trial judge had a “perfectly proper basis” for allowing jurors to learn of Coles’ criminal past.

The jury was “properly directed” and the appeal judge concluded: “This application is dismissed”.