Dangerous driver stole car less than two hours after release from custody on city burglary charge

John Carmen. PIC: Norfolk Police.

John Carmen. PIC: Norfolk Police. - Credit: Archant

A man caught driving dangerously in a car stole it less than two hours after being released from custody after appearing in court in relation to a burglary, a court has heard.

John Carmen, 58, had appeared in court via videolink from custody in relation to the burglary of an 82-year-old man in College Road, Norwich on April 11 this year.

Norwich Crown Court heard that about an hour-and-a-half after being released from police custody Carmen took a silver Mercedes car which he had seen the owner parking up.

Danielle O’Donovan, prosecuting, said by the time the vehicle was recovered the following evening, it was found to have part of the number plate changed.

The vehicle, driven by the defendant, had also been pursued by police after officers spotted the car in the St Faiths Lane area of the city.

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When police tried to go over to the car it “sped away” through a red light and over a mini roundabout and as a result of the dangerous nature of the driving in a built up area, the decision was made “not to pursue the vehicle any further”.

Miss O’Donovan said Carmen took house keys and car keys in the burglary at College Road, as well as sunglasses.

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She said the victim, who was in his back garden at the time, had spoken to Carmen at the time of the offence after he shouted out “hello” several times.

The victim, who did not realise until later that he had been burgled, in a statement described feeling “shocked and surprised” at seeing the defendant in his home.

Carmen, of Earl Road, Rackheath, appeared at court for sentence on Friday (May 22) having previously admitted burglary, driving whilst disqualified, using vehicle without insurance, taking motor vehicle without consent and dangerous driving.

Jailing him for 18 months Judge Anthony Bate said that while the burglary was “opportunistic” it was still very serious for the victim.

Carmen was also made the subject of a restraining order preventing him from contacting the victim indefinitely. He was also disqualified from driving for 18 months.

Jason Stevens, mitigating, said the burglary was opportunistic rather than targeted.

He said Carmen suffered from bipolar disorder.

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