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Family tragedies pushed 54-year-old man into life of drugs, court hears

A 54-year-old man turned to drugs after a string of family tragedies, including the death of his son, a court heard.

Andre Simmons’s father died in 2015 and his son, Royal Bermuda Regiment Sergeant Dejion Stange-Simmons, was murdered soon afterwards, Magistrates’ Court was told.

Simmons said his marriage fell apart after his son’s death. His ex-wife turned to alcohol and would call him at night while distraught.

He told the court: “The last five years have been very, very, very difficult.

“For someone who used to shun people for doing drugs and would say ‘that will never be me’, I feel very ashamed.”

Simmons, of no fixed address, was speaking after he pleaded guilty on Monday to three counts of prowling, two counts of theft and one count of attempted theft.

He also admitted the use of an uninsured and unlicensed motorcycle, failure to have a valid driver’s licence and failure to inform the Transport Control Department that his address had changed.

The court heard that Simmons twice broke into a motorcycle owned by Codi Charles while it was parked at his Paget home.

He stole $80 from the bike on November 22 and $5 on November 30.

Mr Charles set up security cameras around his home, which recorded Simmons last Thursday as he attempted to break into his motorcycle again.

He caught Simmons in the act – but recognised him as someone he had known since he was a child.

Mr Charles called the police, but Simmons fled before officers arrived.

Police later arrested him and he admitted the offences.

Officers learnt that his motorcycle, which he had used to travel to Mr Charles’ house, had been unlicensed and uninsured since 2019.

They also discovered that Simmons did not have a licence and that the motorcycle was not registered in his name, despite his claim that he had bought it.

Simmons said that Mr Charles was a family friend who knew his son and whom he had known since he was about five.

Senior magistrate Juan Wolffe referred Simmons to the Drug Treatment Court and adjourned the case until December 21.

He remanded him in custody and ordered a social inquiry report and a drug assessment.

Mr Wolffe said: “Normally I don’t like to keep someone in jail, but I’m concerned that if I release you, you’re going to reoffend.”

He added: “I could fine you or send you to prison, but you could just reoffend in a couple of months if you don’t get help.

“At the end of the day, you can’t let the deaths of your family be in vain.”

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