From burglar to bard, teen turns to Shakespeare

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A TEENAGER who once boasted to police about his achievements as a burglar has been congratulated by a top judge after he started studying Shakespeare in jail.

The 15-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, but is from Sheffield’s Manor estate, appeared before London’s Criminal Appeal Court to challenge a 12-month detention for attempted burglary.

He was jailed at Sheffield Crown Court in December after he was caught trying to break into a house on Kingfield Road, Nether Edge – and bragged to police he had carried out a rash of other burglaries.

The teenager, who had the reading age of a six-year-old when arrested, told officers he was going to buy a gun.

But his lawyers appealed for the detention order to be overturned and said he had “turned the corner”.

The court heard the lad had a “very damaged background” and was subject to the “adverse influence” of older teenagers on the estate.

But his lawyers said he had progressed so well in custody he is now studying Shakespeare.

Mr Justice Henriques offered the teenager his “profound congratulations” – but refused to mark that progress by allowing his appeal against sentence, saying he was obviously in the right place to be reformed into a “productive member of society”.

He said: “The detention and training order is achieving exactly what it was supposed to. It would be wrong to interfere in any way. We hope he will understand he is on a course which was intended to be in his best interests and, so far, is proving to be so.”