Jail terms should have been higher, says Sheriff

Cupar Sheriff Court.
Cupar Sheriff Court.

A Ladybank woman in her 70s has been praised by a Sheriff for confronting a drug addict who stole more than £10,000 worth of jewellery from her house.

Paul Richardson - who, Cupar Sheriff Court heard, had already served 24 jail sentences - got into the house in Monkstown two days after the woman and her husband had celebrated their golden wedding. Amongst the items he stole was her engagement ring.

But the plucky pensioner stood her ground and stood in front of him, locking him in the conservatory.

He pleaded with her to let him go, grabbed the key and ran off, dropping some of the loot as he went.

Richardson (21), of 9 Royal Buildings, Ladybank, appeared in the dock alongside Stuart McLeod (39), of 11 Royal Buildings.

The pair admitted stealing a quantity of jewellery from the house on December 26 last year, both while subject to an undertaking to appear in court.

The court was told that the woman was alone in the house when she heard noises coming from the kitchen. She went through to investigate and saw McLeod. He ran out of the back door and she followed him, but he ran off down the road.

She went back into the living-room and it was then that Richardson appeared, carrying the stolen property.

McLeod also admitted stealing a car in Melville Road, Ladybank, on November 23 last year, while Richardson admitted allowing himself to driven in a vehicle he knew to be stolen.

Richardson also admitted stealing a purse and its contents, a quantity of clothing and a tobacco tin from a house in St Andrews on the same date, and stealing a handbag and contents, a quantity of clothing, a quantity of alcohol, a watch, a set of car keys and a car from another St Andrews house.

Sheriff Charles Macnair took the Crown to task for not bringing the case to court as an indictment matter, which would have given him greater sentencing powers.

“It seems quite remarkable that you both appear here on summary complaint,” he said.

“The theft in Ladybank alone deserves a higher sentence than I can impose. This lady showed considerable courage in that she was able to face up to Richardson.”

Richardson was given sentences of two months, four months, six months and eight months for his part in the offences, while Mcleod was given sentences of four months and eight months. Both were banned from driving for 40 months.

“The sentences will have to run concurrently,” said Sheriff Macnair.

“By rights they should run consecutively but because of the way the Crown have chosen to proceed they can’t.”

Solicitor Katrina Clark told the court that Mcleod had an ‘extensive’ record. He had seen a friend murdered four years ago and his mental health had deteriorated since then.

Richardson, said Ms Clark, had been to jail 24 times and had committed the offences to fund his heroin addiction.

The court heard that some of the items were later recovered, including the engagement ring.