A Sleaford man has been handed a suspended prison sentence today (Friday) after pleading guilty to stealing sentimental jewellery from his elderly grandmother and great-auntie, before pawning them off in exchange for cash.
Damien Richard Eastgate, 36, of Almond Walk in Sleaford, was told that he should be ‘thoroughly ashamed of himself’ as magistrates handed down a 24 week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, at Lincoln Magistrates’ Court.
To steal from two relatives of such a vulnerable age, who had their trust in you, is beyond belief.Magistrates chairman, Stuart Worsnop
At a previous court hearing on June 6, Eastgate pleaded guilty to the two theft charges and a ‘fraud by false representation’ charge, which related to the dishonest selling of the stolen jewellery in order to make a financial gain for himself.
All three offences took place on February 8 this year.
On the day in question, Eastgate visited his great-auntie Nellie Wright at her home in Bishops Court, Sleaford.
During his visit, he entered Ms Wright’s bedroom and stole a number of rings from a chest of drawers.
Later that day, Eastgate visited his grandmother June Dickinson (83), who lives on the same street, to vacuum clean her home for her.
While there, he again stole a number of rings - including a golden wedding ring and a 14 carat dress ring - which were of great sentimental value for Ms Dickinson as they were given to her by her late husband.
After carrying out the two thefts, Eastgate visited a pawnshop in Sleaford and exchanged the rings for £37 in cash.
Ms Wright and Ms Dickinson contacted the police, and while a PCSO was at the scene Eastgate turned up and confessed that he had ‘just borrowed them’.
Fingerprints found on a black bag in Ms Wright’s home, and CCTV footage from the pawnshop, confirmed that Eastgate had committed the offences.
In court this morning, Paul Wood, prosecuting, told magistrates that Ms Wright had been caused ‘great distress’ by the theft of her jewellery.
However, he added that a letter had been received from Ms Dickinson which asked the court not to send her grandson to prison.
This was reiterated by Mark Wood, defending, who said that Eastgate was ‘apologetic’ for his actions
Mr Wood said: “He has visited both relatives since the incident. He is trying to build bridges with them, and has been doing chores for them both.
“He is a 36-year-old single parent, bringing up three children and living with his parents.”
Mr Wood added that Eastgate had been addicted to heroin, but had been engaging with the drugs charity ‘Addaction’ and stayed clean for at least the last three months.
Summing up ahead of sentencing, magistrate chairman Stuart Worsnop said: “These offences were despicable.
“To steal from two relatives of such a vulnerable age, who had put their trust in you, is beyond belief.
“We seriously considered an immediate custodial sentence, but we have taken into account your grandmother’s plea in her letter.”
In addition to Eastgate’s suspended prison sentence, he was ordered to pay £100 compensation to Ms Wilkinson, £350 in compensation to Ms Wright, £85 in court costs and a £115 victim surcharge.
Mr Worsnop concluded: “I think you should walk out of this court thoroughly ashamed of yourself.”