Jailed: Serial burglar stole items worth £3,800 as family visited mother in hospital
A serial burglar who stole £3,800 worth of possessions including a bike from the home of a man while he visited his ill wife in hospital has been jailed.
Gavin Hope, 48, broke into and ransacked the family's Donnington home while they were out visiting the hospital, breaking a patio door and leaving blood in a girl's bedroom – a mistake which eventually led to his capture.
He stole a mountain bike, air rifles, jewellery and perfume. None of it has been recovered.
Hope, of Boulton Grage in Randlay was identified by DNA from the blood and took part in a police interview, denying that he had ever entered the house. He later owned up to burglary and was brought before a judge this week to be sentenced.
Shrewsbury Crown Court heard from prosecutor Mr Thomas Griffiths.
He said that on January 22 this year, at about noon, the father of the family left home, locking the doors, to pick up his children and visit his wife.
When the family returned at about 8pm, the man noticed that a light was on in his daughter's bedroom.
"When he then entered into the kitchen he saw that glass was all over the floor," said Mr Griffiths. "A patio door had been completely smashed.
"All of the rooms had been searched. The daughter's bedroom, when he then went upstairs, had blood on the sheets."
The blood was analysed and it matched the identity of Hope, who has previous convictions for burglary.
He eventually admitted burgling the house and was remanded in custody. He has already been convicted for other burglaries that took place in 2019 and this latest conviction for burgling a dwelling is his 'third strike' – meaning an automatic starting point of three years in jail.
Hope's representative Miss Debra White said that his behaviour was explained by his reliance on drugs to cope with the death of his partner last year.
She said: "He is remorseful, he is sorry for what he has done. He found it understandably very difficult to cope with [his partner's death].
"He went back to drugs as a crutch."
Judge Peter Barrie told Hope: "At the time of these offences you were on licence, having been released at the halfway point of a short custodial sentence for theft."
He said that Hope had caused "substantial and significant" loss to the victims in "ransacking" their house and taking their belongings. He also said that there was evidence of another person being involved in the burglary.
Beginning with the three-year starting point, he gave some credit because of Hope's relatively early guilty plea (before the case came to trial) and arrived at a sentence of two years and four months.
He also ordered that the family of victims should be compensated to the value of £3,800.
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