Thief who stole from Jessica Ennis-Hill’s coach is jailed

John Dickinson
John Dickinson
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A sneaky thief stole an iPad and a car belonging to Olympic gold medal winner Jessica Ennis-Hill’s trainer and training partner during a week-long crime spree.

John Dickinson, aged 19, struck in the track area of the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield while it was being used, Sheffield Crown Court heard.

Great Britain's Jessica Ennis-Hill celebrates winning the gold medal in the Women's Heptathlon with her coach Toni Minichiello

Great Britain's Jessica Ennis-Hill celebrates winning the gold medal in the Women's Heptathlon with her coach Toni Minichiello

He stole an iPad from the rucksack of Toni Minichiello, coach of Sheffield Oylmpic and World gold medallist Jessica Ennis-Hill, and car keys belonging to GB heptathlete John Lane, her training partner. The first Mr Lane knew about the theft was when he got a text message saying his car had been stolen.

Police on patrol later became suspicious about the way a car was being driven and saw the driver perform a u-turn.

Officers pulled alongside and asked the driver to stop and could see that Dickinson was behind the wheel, said David Wain, prosecuting.

There was a minor collision on Tinsley Park Road and Dickinson was arrested.

John Lane

John Lane

He was found to be wearing a watch belonging to Mr Lane and had a stolen passport which he claimed he had found.

During a week-long crime spree, Dickinson broke into the children’s home where he had been brought up while the occupants were on holiday in Tenerife.

An assistant manager found entry had been gained through a kitchen door and the bedrooms searched and five televisions stolen.

Television sets worth £1,159 had been taken from the lounge, office and three of the children’s bedrooms after the children left on July 28. The thefts were discovered on August 3 – the day before the EIS thefts.

Dickinson, who lived at the home until he was 18 and was told to keep away over various issues, was found near the home and tried to bluff his way out. Amy Earnshaw, defending, said he was homeless at the time of the offences and thought he was going to be jailed over his non-compliance with a previous community order for shoplifting.

He broke into the home to stay there and allowed others to enter the property.

He had a number of personal issues and had been assaulted when he was a youngster being put on the child protection register in 2001.

Dickinson was later put up for adoption and then remained in local authority care. When he became independent at 18 it was too much for him to cope and he lost his accommodation.

Judge Peter Kelson said of the break-in: “It was an incredibly mean burglary. It was spiteful in the extreme given your connections with the home involved.”

Dickinson, of Allan Street, Clifton, Rotherham, admitted burglary, four offences of theft and aggravated vehicle taking. An attempt burglary was allowed to lie on file.

He was jailed for a total of two years and banned from driving for two years.

Investigating officer PC Dean Craik said: “Dickinson’s crimes had a devastating impact on the children’s home as when they returned from a holiday they found their possessions gone.

“This type of crime is not victimless and can often be incredibly upsetting.

“Dickinson subjected his victims to a week of hell and I hope they are reassured by the results at court.”