Home-wrecking thug

5:00pm Tuesday 27th March 2012

By Sian Davies

A PROLIFIC burglar wrecked a home he targeted by daubing the walls with food, table sauces and eggs.

Not content with stealing precious jewellery and electrical goods from the family home, Darryl Clarke then emptied jars of ketchup and salad dressing, threw 14 eggs at walls and even emptied a jar of pickled onions over furniture.

He ransacked the home, causing thousands of pounds worth of damage, as he did with four other properties during his crime spree.

On most occasions Clarke, 23, of Cuckmere Lane, Southampton, used garden tools to force his way in before stealing electrical goods, jewellery and on one occasion a £35,000 BMW car.

Southampton Crown Court heard how an elderly couple returned to their East Dean cottage from a hospital appointment to find that they had been burgled.

Some of the stolen jewellery was later found in the handbag of Clarke’s mother Patricia Clarke who was searched when she was caught shoplifting in Winchester after visiting her son in prison while he was on remand.

He also targeted a home in Salisbury, where the teenage son of the occupants returned home to find that the family BMW car had been stolen. It was later recovered.

Clarke also admitted stealing a bike from a garage in Twyford, that was also later found, and targeting a home in Ringwood, where he again took jewellery and electrical goods.

Prosecutor Stuart Ellacott told of how Clarke had ransacked a home in Nursling, which he trashed by throwing around food.

The court heard that a year on, the homeowner was still redecorating after the attack which had left her suffering panic attacks.

The mother-of-two even now cannot go into the lounge of her home that was badly damaged.

Mitigating for Clarke, who admitted five counts of burglary, David Reid said that the offending was due to a £300-a-week drug addiction.

He was sentenced to four years in prison.

His mother, 44, of Copeland Road, Millbrook, admitted one count of handling stolen goods, which she had done out of a misguided sense of loyalty to her son. She was jailed for eight months.

Det Insp Simon Baker said: “Clarke caused tens of thousands of pounds worth of loss in costs and property stolen. In one case he caused gratuitous damage which still has a profound effect on the occupants now.”

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