When news happens, text SDE and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
Appeal judges slash jail term of serial burglar Christopher Woodcock
HE is the serial burglar who targeted a vulnerable pensioner and stole some of his most precious possessions.
Christopher Woodcock already had 37 previous convictions – one for almost every year of his life – and was on day release from prison when he broke into the home of his 84-year-old victim.
The distraught pensioner later described the impact of being burgled as “like a bombshell going off”.
But today career thief Woodcock has had his prison sentence cut by almost a third by two of the country’s most senior judges who felt his punishment was too harsh.
Last night the Court of Appeal’s decision came under fire from a Hampshire MP who said it made “a mockery” of British justice.
Woodcock was jailed for five years and eight months when he appeared in Winchester Crown Court earlier this year following the callous raid on the pensioner’s Brockenhurst home on February 4.
The 38-year-old had been on day release from Ford Open Prison in West Sussex and boarded a train to the New Forest, using “considerable force” to break in while his victim was out buying a paper.
He stole cash and jewellery – including a wedding ring belonging to the man’s 86-year-old wife who was living in a care home.
Sentencing him under the “three strikes” rule, Judge Andrew Barnett told him: “You have an appalling record, 21 court appearances, practically every year for burglary.”
Had Woodcock contested the case and been convicted he would have been jailed for eight or nine years, the judge said.
But despite that, Court of Appeal judges yesterday slashed Woodcock’s sentence to four years, citing his guilty plea as their reasoning.
Woodcock’s lawyers told the Court of Appeal that his sentence was too long, and that he had denied deliberately targeting a pensioner.
The two judges hearing the case cut the sentence after describing the original jail term as “manifestly excessive”.
Mr Justice Blake said: “We conclude that, giving full credit for the guilty plea, the appropriate sentence in this case is one of four years’ imprisonment.”
“Criminals are released often at the halfway point, which makes a mockery of the claim that the original sentence was set to reflect the gravity of the crime. Some judges don’t seem to live in the real world.”
Comments are closed on this article.