A career burglar had what an Oxford judge said was ‘one of the worst’ criminal records he’d seen for some time.

But after hearing that Ricky Kilroy’s life had been blighted by drug addiction and he’d managed to wean himself off a heroin substitute while on remand, Judge Ian Pringle QC adjourned the case so the 38-year-old could be assessed for a rehabilitation programme.

Remanding him in custody until Monday, July 26, the judge said: “You know the score. This is the only possible way in which you might turn your whole life around. And it’s not an easy ask, this. You need to be absolutely clean for at least three months.

“If you are then after those three months sent to a residential rehab you’re there for at least another three months.

“You are going to have to change your entire life. Do you understand?”

Kilroy replied: “I understand.”

“Here’s your opportunity coming now. Let’s see what you can make of it,” Judge Pringle said. Earlier, he described the defendant’s 54 previous convictions as one of the worst criminal records he’d seen for some time.

Last month, Kilroy, of Queensway, Didcot, pleaded guilty to burglary, attempted burglary, fraud by false representation and growing two cannabis plants.

He broke into a house in Castle Street, Wallingford, between April 4 and 6, 2021, taking a MacBook computer, Dyson air purifier, a wallet and driving licence.

On April 6, he entered The Boathouse pub, Wallingford, with intent to steal. And, on the same day, attempted to burgle the Pure Boating Company, Wallingford.

He used a bank card without permission at the Esso service station, a BP garage and a Waitrose store, all in Wallingford, on April 6.

Kilroy asked for five other burglaries to be taken into consideration by the judge.

He admitted breaking into Station Flooring, Didcot, between March 24 and 25, 2019. Between November 30 and December 3, 2018, he broke into the Lydells Road nursery and Manor Primary School. Between November 26 and 27, 2018, he committed a burglary at Northbourne Primary School and, on November 28, stole from the Peacocks store in Didcot.

The matter was put back by the judge in June and no pre-sentence report was ordered as Kilroy, with multiple house burglaries on his record, was facing a minimum sentence of three years’ imprisonment.

But on Wednesday, defence barrister Kellie Enever asked for her client to be assessed to see if he was suitable for an intensive drug rehabilitation programme run by HMP Bullingdon and addiction charity Turning Point. Kilroy had completed a number of courses while on remand and had weaned himself off class A drug substitute methadone.

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