Victim of burglar who stole late husband's wedding rings tells court he 'destroyed a whole lifetime of memories'
The victim of a career burglar who had her late husband's wedding rings stolen while she slept told a court he "destroyed a whole lifetime of memories".
Gary Williamson, 52, of no fixed abode, was jailed for four years at Norwich Crown Court on Wednesday after he admitted six offences.
The court heard how Williamson, who has 109 offences over 36 years, 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.
And 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.”
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 : “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.”