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Thursday, 18 September 2014

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Burglar jailed after he flooded Cumbrian home

A 35-year-old former heroin addict from Workington has been jailed after being found guilty of a burglary which left a home flooded.

Anthony O’Brien, from Station Road, was sentenced to 21 months after a two-day trial at Carlisle Crown Court.

His girlfriend, 21-year-old Helen Brady from the same address, was also found guilty of her part in the attempted theft.

The pair had denied breaking into the empty property in March this year to cut water pipes from the walls – flooding the premises in theprocess.

Judge Paul Batty said that the pair hadoriginally claimed to have been fixing the door at the property, when first spotted by police, but later changed their story so that they were looking for cigarette butts in a nearby working men’s club car park to explain why they were there.

He told the jury: “You know from the evidence that was read to you that no one had any authority to go into the premises.

“A police officer said he was 100 per cent sure he saw the two of them emerging from that premises.

“What were they doing in there? They were effectively caught red-handed.”

The judge added that their initial explanation was not very convincing. He said: “[Anthony O’Brien said] they were there to repair the landlord’s door and Helen Brady, having heard him, said that, went along with the ludicrous explanation.”

He said that she had only changed her story on the morning of the trial.

The jury also heard that Brady had lied to the police, as well as her own solicitors, and when questioned why she had lied in her statement she said it was because she was nervous and “hated the police”.

The judge said that when police arrived at the scene water leaking from the pipes covered an area of a square foot but the bathroom was soon flooded and firefighters needed to be called to deal with the emergency.

In passing sentence Judge Batty told O’Brien that his case had been financially costly to the legal system with several appearances, and added: “You put forward one of the most ludicrous defences I have heard in this court.

“You have the right to test your case and test the case you did.

“The jury saw right through it.”

O’Brien had been on remand since March and he was told that any time served would count against his sentence.

Judge Batty said he believed that Brady had been under the influence of her partner during the burglary and she was given a 12 month community order, with supervision, which included a four month nighttime curfew.

The judge said she would be tagged during the curfew, which will be between 9pm and 6am.

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