Callous thief jailed for burgling friend’s Sheffield home while she was being treated for overdose

A callous thief who broke into a friend’s Sheffield home and stole her television while she was being treated for an overdose in hospital has been jailed.

Friday, 26th April 2019, 4:23 pm

Peter Happs, 47, had known the complainant for around a decade, when the pair bumped into each other on March 26 this year, Sheffield Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor, Gurdial Singh, said Happs, of Challoner Green, Westfield was subsequently invited back to the complainant’s flat.

Mr Singh told the court: “She was having a troubled time, and took an overdose. She was conveyed to hospital, and thought her premises had been left secure.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Peter Happs was jailed for eight months, during a hearing held at Sheffield Crown Court

“She was in hospital when the defendant entered her premises by pushing open a downstairs window. He helped himself to her television and remote control.”

The woman’s neighbours noticed Happs leaving her home with the television, and called the police.

They arrested him at the scene, and were able to recover both the television and the remote control.

“When interviewed, he made full admissions, and said he had done something stupid and that he shouldn’t have taken it, he was drunk and daft,” said Mr Singh.

He added: “The complainant felt disgusted because she had trusted him.”

Happs, who was first brought before the courts in 1990, has an extensive criminal record of 81 offences, 21 of which are for dishonesty.

He was the subject of a conditional discharge imposed in December last year when he committed this offence, the court heard.

Geoff Fleming, defending, said: “This is not a case where Mr Happs has sought out a person who he knew to be vulnerable on account of their vulnerabilities.

“They were old acquaintances, and stumbled into each other. They both have what’s described as chaotic lifestyles.

“The complainant was taken to hospital and the defendant committed what he describes as a drunken, daft offence.

Recorder Kama Melly QC jailed Happs for eight months.

She told him: “The circumstances of this offence are particularly sad in that you were spending time as friends with the victim of the offence.

“You became aware that your friend was having significant mental health issues, such that she harmed herself. You were aware that she had been taken to hospital for treatment...and took the opportunity to go into her home and steal a significant piece of her property.”

“It’s clear from her statement that it [her television] was a significant piece of the victim’s personal property.”