Leukaemia sufferer skipped bail - but spared jail

Courts: Reports from the law courts.
Courts: Reports from the law courts.
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A CANCER patient who skipped bail has been given one last chance by a judge.

Leukaemia sufferer Michael Tulip, aged 45, was allowed his liberty after Sheffield Crown Court heard he was terrified of dying behind bars.

Ian Goldsack, prosecuting, said Tulip was given a 12 month suspended jail term for stealing two laptops in a house burglary in March 2010 in Worsborough Dale, Barnsley. But he was arrested just weeks later when he walked out of Asda in Old Mill Lane, Barnsley, wearing a pair of trainers he’d stolen from the store.

Mr Goldsack said when his solicitor warned him the suspended sentence from the burglary could be activated, Tulip fled South Yorkshire to Kings Lynn.

It was nearly two years before the authorities tracked him down, even though he was claiming benefits.

Defending, Katy Rafter said: “This defendant suffers leukaemia and his prognosis is stable but he will never recover. He was given advice that he might get a custodial sentence. He has essentially buried his head in the sand and fled from the area.

“He was terrified at the prospect of going to prison and passing away in custody. That motivated his decision.”

Tulip admitted theft, failing to surrender to custody, breaching a suspended sentence and breaching his bail.

Sentencing him, Judge Simon Lawler said: “Although you’ve been at large you have committed no further offences over the last two years and, bearing in mind your record, that’s quite something. After a degree of hesitation, I am going to give you a chance - but it will be the last.”

Tulip, now of Cambridgeshire, was given a 12-month community and supervision order and told he must live at the same address for a year.