Daughter’s anger at burglar sentence

Jacqueline and Liam Gray of High Barnes outside the burgled home of her late mother are angry that the man convicted of the burglry received a suspended sentance and community service.
Jacqueline and Liam Gray of High Barnes outside the burgled home of her late mother are angry that the man convicted of the burglry received a suspended sentance and community service.
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A DAUGHTER today slammed as a “disgrace” the sentence given to the burglar who ransacked her dead mother’s home.

Jacqueline Heeley was left inconsolable after discovering how Mark Wright wrecked her late mum’s house.

The 50-year-old has hit out at the suspended sentence handed to Wright, claiming the judicial system has failed the Sunderland family.

Mrs Heeley had gone to the house at Thelma Street, off Chester Road, with her brother Stuart Gray after their 76-year-old mother, Mary, died from lung cancer.

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The siblings initially struggled to get inside as the front door had been blocked with a piece of wood.

They realised the property had been “ransacked” when they got inside, on November 4, last year, the anniversary of their dad Jack’s death from a heart attack.

As they made their way through the house, discovering more and more damage, raider Mark Wright escaped through the back door.

The 19 year-old was arrested after his DNA was linked to the scene, and confessed he had targeted the vacant property because he was unemployed and needed cash.

Wright, of Mainsforth Terrace West, Hendon, admitted burglary and said he had intended to steal copper piping.

At Newcastle Crown Court yesterday, Mr Recorder Graeme Hyland sentenced him to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with a community order and supervision for 18 months, and 100 hours unpaid work.

Afterwards, Mrs Heeley said she was furious with the sentence, and that her brother’s victim impact statements were not read to the judge at the hearing.

“Our mother had just died from cancer,” she said. “And it was the anniversary of our dad’s death the year before.

“The house was trashed, absolutely trashed. It looked like a cross between a refuge and a jumble sale.”

“The place was flooded from where the boiler and radiators had been taken off the walls, all the cupboards were wide open.

“All the internal doors were unscrewed and the kitchen units were ready to take out. It was ransacked.”

Mrs Heeley, from High Barnes, added: “I know the jails are full but this is not right. The sentence is a slap on the wrist.”

“He was given community service, but what kind of deterrent is that?”

“I have been badly let down by the judicial system.

“Its an absolute insult to my mother’s memory, it’s a disgrace.”

Prison sentencing is currently a hot topic in Westminster.

The Government this week said it is to rethink proposals to offer 50 per cent sentence cuts for early guilty pleas, after they were met with fierce opposition.

Justice secretary Ken Clarke recently said that he wants to reduce the 85,000 prison population in England and Wales by 3,000.