Belfast Telegraph

Monday 20 October 2014

Status is irrelevant, the man committed a crime

I HAVE every sympathy for people who live on the street and have to beg to survive. However, I do feel that the 'fairytale' Lindy McDowell paints in her column (Life, January 5) is far from reality.

This man stole the keys to the lady's home weeks beforehand, so therefore he planned to break in (not 'sneak in', as Lindy reports) at a later date.

It is not clear how he knew the lady would be on holiday and no one knows whether he would have stolen from her home should she not have returned earlier than expected.

I also have every sympathy for the poor lady, who, I'm sure, was at her wits' end trying to work out what happened to her keys before leaving for her holiday.

There is a strong possibility this man planned to be caught. He was given six months - he will do three months of that sentence. He will not be able to be released until there is an address to release him to, therefore it is highly likely that he will have to be housed on release.

During those three months, he will be well-fed, entertained, kept warm and will be out around March or April, a good time to be moving into a new home.

Just as well we have judges who are objective and not swayed by sentimentality. The sentence was given to fit the crime - breaking and entering someone's home.

The fact they are homeless, or a migrant, is irrelevant. This man broke the law and the sentence, hopefully, will send a clear message to other opportunists who may try the same thing on another poor person returning to their home to find it has been violated.

JENNIFER HAMILTON

Carrickfergus, Co Antrim

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