3rd Dec, 2016

Burglar forced to pay compensation after breaking into student rooms during Christmas holiday

Coventry Editorial 1st Jun, 2016 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

A BURGLAR who is behind bars after kicking his way into the rooms of five students while they were away over the Christmas holiday, has been ordered to pay compensation to his victims.

Despite being said to have been homeless at the time because of rent arrears, a judge heard Paul Dean had assets of more than £5,000 in a bank account.

Dean was jailed for three years and four months earlier this year after pleading guilty at Warwick Crown Court to six charges of burglary.

On that occasions a hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act was adjourned for an investigation to take place into the 49-year-old’s finances.

At the resumed hearing prosecutor Marcus Harry said Dean’s benefit from the break-ins at addresses in Coventry and Leamington was a total of £1,202 – and he had assets of £5,060 in a bank account.

Recorder Kevin Hegarty QC made a confiscation order for £1,202 under the Proceeds of Crime Act and ordered the money should be used to compensate Dean’s victims for the value of what he stole.

Dean was given 28 days to hand over the money or face a further two months in prison.

But despite him still having around £3,800 in his account, the judge was told there was no request for him to pay the prosecution costs.

During the original hearing the court was told five students who had individual rooms in a house in Melville Road, Earlsdon, Coventry, left for the Christmas break on December 20.

When they returned on January 2 they found the house had been broken into and the doors to their rooms had been kicked in.

Property including televisions, speakers, perfume and a money box had been taken from three of the rooms – and in one of them Dean had even looked through the female student’s underwear.

When he was questioned, Dean said he could not remember anything about the Melville Road burglaries.

Mark Phillips, prosecuting at that hearing, added that Dean had 34 previous convictions for 94 offences, including 17 domestic burglaries, going back to 1981.

Tim Sapwell, defending, said the blight of Dean’s life had been a heroin addiction, and in October last year he had become homeless after falling behind with his rent.

“It was in looking for somewhere to stay that he intruded into other people’s homes, because he was told by others he could go and sleep there, and he stole to fund his habit.”

The money confiscated from Dean will be used to pay compensation of £107, £400 and £600 to the three students whose property he stole.