Thief stole laptop after apologising to victim

A thief forced to apologise to his victim for stealing his laptop under a restorative justice programme stole the man's replacement computer during the visit.
Months earlier Ivan Barker, 21, had stolen a laptop and cigarettes from wheelchair-bound Jean Jacque Mathely.

So when he called round to say “sorry” his victim was naturally guarded, but let him in after he said police suggested he should face up to his offending.

But once inside, rather than apologise to the man he had wronged, he made off with Mr Mathley’s new laptop.

Now Barker, who sold the stolen goods to pay for booze, has finally been jailed for 16 weeks after pleading guilty to theft.

Stoke-on-Trent Magistrates' Court heard a few months after the original theft, Barker visited Mr Mathely's home in November last year.

Sue Hayers, prosecuting, said: "He answered a knock at the door and saw the defendant, who had previously been convicted of a similar offence of theft from the injured party, standing outside.

"The defendant said the police had asked him to visit to apologise to him for the previous offence.

"He initially believed the apology was genuine and let him in.

"They had a conversation, and the injured party went to the toilet. He then heard the defendant shout that he was leaving.

"When Mr Mathley went back into the living room he noticed the drawer on his computer desk was open and his laptop was missing. The defendant had also taken two 100 packs of cigarettes."

The court heard Mr Mathely had only just bought the computer for £200 to replace the first one Barker had taken three months before.

When he was arrested, Barker told police he had genuinely gone to the house to apologise, but while he was there "started stressing" and needed a drink.

He said he took the computer and sold it for £30. Barker pleaded guilty to theft.

Gary Corbett, mitigating, said: "The defendant had been drinking to excess and taking cocaine before he went to the address.

"This was an opportunistic offence, he didn't go there with the intention to steal these items."

Mr Corbett said Barker had made an effort to cut down on his drinking since the incident.

"He has gone from drinking every day to only four times a week, and not to excess," he said.

Magistrates sentenced Barker, of no fixed address, to 16 weeks in prison.

He also admitted a charged of failing to answer to bail, after he previously failed to turn up at court, for which he was sentenced to seven days in custody, which will run concurrently to his other sentence.

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