Career burglar with 109 offences over 36 years stole wedding rings from widow while she slept
PUBLISHED: 06:30 06 September 2018 | UPDATED: 14:31 06 September 2018
A career burglar with 109 offences over 36 years rifled through people's homes while they slept and stole a widow's late husband's wedding rings, a court heard.
Norwich Crown Court heard how Gary Williamson, 52, carried out two house burglaries in Norwich while the owners slept, stole rings worth £4,500 from a Norwich jewellers, used bank cards stolen from a member of staff at Norwich Cathedral, and stole from two shops.
On Wednesday at Norwich Crown Court Williamson admitted all six offences and was jailed for four years for his “appalling record of dishonesty”.
Chris Youell, prosecuting, told the court “sentimental jewellery” was taken in the house burglary on West Parade in June.
“It appears while she was sleeping the defendant appeared, once more intent on committing burglaries, and took a spade from her shed and used it to force the rear of kitchen window,” he said.
“Her mobility is restricted, as is her sleep. She was in the house on her own and is a widow. When she woke up she found her purse and iPhone were missing and her gold rings missing from the kitchen.”
Two of the three rings had belonged to her late husband, and the third had been his mother’s, who has also died.
In a statement the victim spoke directly to Williamson and said: “They represent my whole married life and are completely irreplaceable. You have destroyed a whole lifetime of memories.”
On July 2, Williamson then stole three rings from a jewellers on Bedford Street.
Robert Pollington, mitigating for Williamson, said his partner passed away last year and he “fell back into the grips of his [heroin] addiction”.
“He needs to realise at 52 years old - having spent a significant amount of time in custody already - he is fast wishing away his life and his freedom,” he said.
“These are unsophisticated, untargeted, irresponsible and ultimately horrible offences but not from his point of view done with malice. Just the absence of any emotion whatsoever.”
Judge Anthony Bate told Williamson, of no fixed abode: “You sit in the dock with your head down, it would seem in utter shame. Rightly so. You have an appalling record of dishonesty.
“Some might describe you as a career criminal, while that might denote a degree of skill rarely demonstrated in your crimes.”
The victim impact
In a rare move, one of Williamson’s victims wrote a victim impact statement speaking directly to him.
In the document read to the court by prosecutor Chris Youell, the widow from West Parade said: “You probably thought the person who lives in this house has lots of money and you could help yourself.
“I do not have lots of money and I started off with nothing. My parents were hard up and I lived in a council house.
“I chose to get a good education and work hard. You chose to be a thief.
“You stole things that were precious to me. You took three rings I had to take off when I was in hospital.
“They represent my whole married life and are completely irreplaceable. You have destroyed a whole lifetime of memories.
“Apart from that you violated my home - a place where I felt safe. While I was sleeping you broke into my house and my home no longer feels safe.
“What you did that night has affected me deeply.”