March 7 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, December 5, 2013
A man has been jailed for handling a memorial bench that was stolen from Earlham cemetery in Norwich.
Shane Vincent, 39, of Roe Drive, Earlham, had previously denied stealing the bench, but pleaded guilty to handling by receiving stolen goods, between August 22 and September 5, when he appeared before Norwich magistrates yesterday.
As reported, the bench was taken from the grave of Maisie Price, an eight-year-old girl who died in October 2009. It was later handed in to police by a couple that had bought it.
For Vincent, Gavin Cowe said his client had found the bench as he was walking in the street. He sold it to a friend for £10.
Vincent was ordered by magistrates to pay £10 compensation to the person he sold it to, and £20 to the family of Maisie Price, to pay for the plaque which had been taken off the bench before its sale.
Prosecutor, Yvonne Neill said Maisie’s mother Andrea Barrett was visiting her daughter’s grave to put flowers on the site, when she spotted the bench was missing.
After the theft was reported in the Eastern Daily Press, a woman went into Earlham police station to say that she had bought the bench from Vincent.
In a victim impact statement, Ms Barrett said she had found it hard to cope with the theft, especially as her son was approaching the same age that Maisie was when she died.
Mr Cowe said: “Mr Vincent was unaware where the bench had come from. He must have known that it was stolen but closed his eyes to it.
“He was upset when he discovered the provenance of the bench. He has long-standing issues with drugs, but has provided negative samples for the last two months.”
Vincent was jailed for a total of 88 days.