Burnley ring thief ‘terrified’ of jail given freedom
A THIEF who stole sentimental diamond rings worth £7,000 has won her freedom after a week behind bars.
Alcoholic Sally Howard, 35, had taken two rings from her 86-year-old widowed grandmother, who did not believe the defendant was the culprit even though Howard had owned up.
Howard, who got £100 for the jewellery, also helped herself to a £3,500 ring belonging to her best friend, which ended up up being melted down. The victims were distraught at Howard’s betrayal, Burnley Crown Court was told.
Howard had been locked up for six months by Burnley magistrates on September 20, after admitting two counts of theft.
She appealed against the decision at the town’s crown court, where Judge Beverley Lunt suspended the six months for two years, with 12 months’ supervision. The appellant, of Springfield Road, Burnley, was released after six days in Styal Prison.
Sarah Statham, for the Crown, said Howard took two rings worth £3,500 from her grandmother Eileen Howard, who lived in Accrington, on April 27.
One had been bought her by her late husband and the other was bought by her daughter on the death of Mrs Howard’s husband. Both were of ‘immense sentimental value’. Howard took them to a pawn shop and sold them on for £100.
Her best friend Michelle Coulson had inherited the ring Howard stole from her late mother. It was taken to a pawn broker's, where it was melted down.
Miss Statham said Howard attended voluntarily at the police station, was interviewed on August 1 and made admissions, saying she wanted to pay off debts.
Kristian Cavanagh, for Howard, said she was due to go into a rehabilitation programme to address her alcohol problems. He said: “The prospect of returning to Styal terrifies her.”
Judge Lunt said the ‘mean’ thefts were ‘tragic for the victims’.