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Drug addict jailed for burglary

A self-confessed drug addict who broke into a house and stole a purse in front of a child has been sentenced to three years in prison.

Andre Tucker, 31, pleaded guilty last month to a single count of burglary in connection with the incident, which took place in Devonshire on September 13.

Magistrates' Court heard that Caroline Rance was in her kitchen when she heard her daughter shouting from the living room around 7pm.

She ran and found Tucker standing next to a table with her handbag on it. Tucker grabbed the bag and fled toward Middle Road.

A neighbour later told police he'd seen Tucker in the area before the burglary. Because he had CCTV cameras on his property, he was able to give police a picture of Tucker.

Tucker was arrested at his home the following day and admitted the burglary, telling officers that he used the $1,200 he found in the handbag to buy cocaine. He later brought police to a neighbouring property, where the handbag and the rest of its contents were found.

Prosecutor Garrett Byrne read victim impact statements from Ms Rance and her nine-year-old daughter. The girl said she has had nightmares in the weeks following the robbery and wanted to move to Germany, leaving the house where she grew up.

Tucker admitted stealing the handbag but claimed the details of the Crown's case were not accurate.

He said: “I take full responsibility for what I done, but I never broke into nobody's house. I walked across and I took a purse. There was no child there.”

Tucker said he had been off drugs for some time, but experienced a drug relapse shortly before the offence. He claimed he approached multiple groups for help in the days before the burglary, including his former probation officer, but had not been able to get treatment.

Tucker asked for the matter to be sent to Drug Treatment Court so he could get help for his addiction, but Senior Magistrate Archibald Warner insisted he'd already been given every intervention opportunity available to the courts.

Mr Warner said: “Of course drug addition is a horrible thing. There's no doubt that people commit offences because they are on drugs at various stages, but there is also the other side — the security.

“This is a very, very, very serious offence. One of the most insidious offences as far as someone entering as a trespasser in your home. It violates you. It violates your security. It's far more insidious and longer lasting than just stealing $1,000. Look at what the mom said. Look at what the child said.”

The personal circumstances of the defendant must be considered, he added.

“At the end of the day I must also consider the security issue, and security will trump personal circumstances every time, if they don't go together.”

He sentenced Tucker to three years in prison, to be followed by a two-year period of probation, adding that the defendant should be given every available rehabilitation programme.

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Published October 30, 2013 at 2:08 pm (Updated October 30, 2013 at 2:08 pm)

Drug addict jailed for burglary

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