When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
Career burglar who blew his 'final chance' is jailed
A JUDGE who admitted people would think she was “off her head” sparing a burglar jail has now had to send him to prison.
At Oxford Crown Court, Judge Mary Jane Mowat told homeless Alan Goodman: “I tried to give you a chance last time and you almost took it, but in the end you threw it away.”
Last August she spared him jail and said her decision would make people believe she was “off her head”. He was before her then after admitting three burglaries in Oxford and an assault occasioning actual bodily harm and asked for 22 other burglaries and thefts to be taken into consideration. She told him he may have gone to prison “for something like four-and-a-half years” but instead decided to send the prolific offender on a residential drug-rehabilitation course to kick his £100-a-day heroin habit. At that hearing she said: “Many would think I’m just off my head offering the alternative.
“You’re the sort of person who puts people in terror when they hear about your offences, the sort of person many quite reasonable people would like to see locked up for life, if the law would permit it.”
“But you have served sentences before, one of three years, to no effect. There’s a recommendation from probation you should be offered drug rehabilitation.”
However, on Friday the 30-year-old was back before the same judge at Oxford Crown Court, convicted of a further burglary. He was found guilty after a trial of a break-in at a house in Percy Street, East Oxford, between April 19 and April 22 this year.
He entered the property at night when no one was at home and stole a laptop computer, a mobile phone, gloves and keys.
After the jury had delivered the verdict Judge Mowat turned to address them and described the last time she sentenced Goodman for a burglary.
She said: “I took a chance and said nothing else has worked so far, so let’s try rehabilitation.
“But I also noted that if this goes wrong it means a sentence of four to five years.”
Judge Mowat added that, according to probation reports, Goodman had made “excellent” progress on a drug rehabilitation course before he returned to offending.
She said to the defendant: “The theft of laptops in my book is an aggravating factor, because of all the information and hassle that goes with losing them.
“If you lose a laptop you can be in dire trouble.
“Make the most of whatever you can in custody and make a fresh start when you are released."”
Jailing him for four years on this occasion, Judge Mowat told him she had “no choice” but to send him to prison. She added that since November 30, 1999, Goodman had carried out five dwelling burglaries, leading to a mandatory three-year minimum sentence.
He was imprisoned for four years and told to pay a £120 victims’ surcharge.