Devastated widow feels "crushed" after own son steals jewellery belonging to her mum and late husband

A devastated widow has told how she feels “crushed” after her serial-burglar son also stole jewellery that had belonged to her mother and her deceased husband.

Monday, 20th September 2021, 4:00 am

Sheffield Crown Court heard on September 16 how prolific burglar Paul Wright, aged 48, of Cawthorne Close, East Herringthorpe, Rotherham, raided Sheffield student accommodation, twice struck at a university building in the city and also stole from his mother after she had taken him in.

Craig Lowe, prosecuting, said Wright smashed the window of the communal area of a ground floor student flat on Eldon Street, in Sheffield city centre, in October, 2019, after he had been trying windows at the complex and he was later detained by a security guard.

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Sheffield Crown Court, pictured, has heard how a devastated widow's serial-burglar son also stole her sentimental jewellery including her late husband's gold chain.

Mr Lowe added Wright also twice burgled Hallam University arts building, on Fitzalan Square, Sheffield, in March and April, 2020, and he had been spotted twice on CCTV wandering around, and during the second of these two raids he triggered an alarm and was caught by police.

Wright’s offending continued between April to July, this year, when he stole 11 items of jewellery valued at £8,450 from his mother, according to Mr Lowe, after she had allowed him to stay with her because he said he was homeless.

His mother stated: “I am absolutely crushed. I feel betrayed. How can he steal from me when I am grieving after the death of his father. This time he has gone too far. I cannot stop crying over the situation.”

Paul Wright appeared at Sheffield Crown Court for stealing from his own mum

Mr Lowe said Wright’s mother had noticed items of her jewellery had gone missing and he admitted taking them to a Cash Converters pawn shop.

Wright, who has previous convictions including numerous burglaries, pleaded guilty to three counts of burglary with intent to steal as well as theft and fraud.

David Hewitt, defending, described the burglaries as “largely fruitless offences” committed with an “air of desperation”.

He said: “Nothing was stolen from the student accommodation and the product for the two more extensive burglaries was a set of keys. So essentially little or nothing was stolen.

“For the theft and fraud, Mr Wright said his long-term intention was to return these items to his mother.”

Mr Hewitt added Wright has been addicted to heroin, crack and spice for about 26 years and he has suffered with mental health issues and self-harming.

He said at the time of the burglaries Wright was addicted to drugs and these were opportunistic offences.

Mr Hewitt added: “With a clear head, he looks back on these offences, particularly those involving his mother, with a great deal of remorse.”

Judge Graham Reeds QC told Wright he had betrayed his mother’s help by stealing her jewellery including her mother’s engagement ring and her deceased husband’s gold chain.

He was shocked that Wright had later given his mother the pawn shop receipts so she could pay to get her jewellery back.

Judge Reeds told Wright: “The theft from your mother was a breach of a significant degree of trust which she had placed in you by allowing you back in the house and it was also a theft on several occasions over a period of time.”

Judge Reeds sentenced Wright to four-and-a-half years of custody.

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