Prolific criminal who stole woman’s car when she stopped to help a lost dog fails to get three-year jail term reduced

The woman appeared before court
The woman appeared before court

A prolific criminal who stole a woman’s BMW when she got out to help a lost dog in Billinghay deserved every day of his jail term, top judges have ruled.

Stephen Troy Sacre, 42, of Harlaxton Road, Grantham, pounced when the owner saw a dog wandering alone in High Street, Billinghay, in March.

When she got out to find its owner, he jumped into her £12,000 car and sped off, before being chased by police through the streets.

Having evaded cops for miles, speeding in heavy traffic and driving into a police car, he was eventually stopped and arrested in Ruskington.

Two weeks later, Sacre was in trouble again when he broke through a window into the New Life Church in Sleaford but was caught by police.

He admitted theft, dangerous driving and burglary and was jailed for three years at Lincoln Crown Court in April.

Yesterday (Tuesday), dismissing an appeal against the sentence, senior judges at the Court of Appeal ruled it was what Sacre deserved for the spate of crime.

He already had 121 offences on his record, having begun his criminal career in 1987 when he was still a child.

He was a drug user for many years and had been on methadone, but stopped collecting his prescription.

His lawyers argued that a total of three years for the crimes was too tough.

The court heard he had stolen the car because he was in debt and thought that he could give it to his creditor to avoid an assault.

Dismissing the appeal, Judge Mark Lucraft QC said: “The sentence cannot be said to be manifestly excessive.

“He was to be sentenced for three specific acts and, in the light of his previous record, a sentence of this length was entirely justified.”

The three-year term was upheld.