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Two men jailed for a string of festive-season break-ins

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A WOMAN has been left ‘frightened of her own shadow’ after confronting two men who had broken into her flat, the Royal Court has heard.

Luke Cox Picture: STATES OF JERSEY POLICE (28810515)

Luke Clint Cox (33) and Michael Anthony Quinn (29) were yesterday jailed for four years and three years respectively after admitting a string of break-ins.

In a statement given to the police, the court heard that one victim had been awoken by the duo entering her ground-floor apartment in St Helier and that, since the incident, she had not slept properly due to constantly waking up to check her windows and doors were locked. The court also heard that she had been left ‘feeling violated’ and ‘frightened of her own shadow’.

Michael Quinn Picture: STATES OF JERSEY POLICE (28810520)

Cox pleaded guilty to four counts of illegal entry, two counts of false pretences, receiving stolen property and possession of cannabis, while Quinn admitted four counts of illegal entry, two counts of false pretences and a single count of receiving stolen property.

The thieves entered the property at about 7am on Saturday 4 January, having forced open a sash window. The woman woke when she heard one of the intruders saying ‘this is the one’. She shouted and jumped out of bed to find her front door wide open, and a man running down the driveway towards the main road. They stole an iPhone, iPad, and a MacBook laptop.

The court heard that the incident was one of a string of break-ins Cox and Quinn carried out that morning, with the duo also stealing a television, PlayStation, Skybox, bottles of alcohol, cash and credit cards.

Police interviewed the two men and found a number of the stolen items at the property. A credit card was also found in Quinn’s trouser pockets, which linked him to one of the crimes, and the sole of Cox’s trainers matched a print left under the woman’s bed.

Crown Advocate Richard Pedley, prosecuting, said the defendants were ‘two very damaged individuals’ with ‘unenviable criminal records’ and that they should receive substantial prison sentences.

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While admitting that Cox has a long record – unless he has been serving a prison sentence, he has been in a Jersey court every year since 1999 – Advocate Julian Gollop, defending, said La Moye was not the place for him.

Instead, he said his client wanted to be sent to England for ‘specialist treatment for his complex mental-health issues’, something he felt was not available in the Island.

Advocate Adam Harrison, representing Quinn, told the court this was his client’s first offence of this nature and, because he had shown remorse, had been co-operative, and because of his mental-health issues, a prison sentence was not appropriate. Instead he asked the court to consider an 18-month probation order, community service and therapy.

Delivering the court’s sentence, Lieutenant-Bailiff Anthony Olsen said that ‘despite the powerful addresses’ from both defence lawyers, the break-ins were ‘serious offences’, which were made all the more upsetting because they had ‘taken place during the festive season which was supposed to be a period of good will’.

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Rereading the woman’s statement to the two accused, who were appearing by video-link, Jurat Olsen urged them to think again about the impact their crime had had on their victims, before sentencing Cox to four years and Quinn to three years in prison. Mr Olsen added: ‘You can’t carry on like this. The sentences will just get longer and longer. Hopefully prison will be the making of you.’

Speaking after sentencing, Detective Constable Adam Claxton said: ‘Through good teamwork and witness engagement we were able to identify these individuals very quickly. Forensic analysis and passive data inquiries were key to securing these convictions.

‘They were brazen in their actions by committing these crimes while the home owners were at home and we take a zero-tolerance stance to offences such as these.

‘We will always do our utmost to bring offenders before the courts to face justice and we hope this sentence sends out a strong message to those intent on committing serious crime. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the victims in this case for their support throughout the investigation.

Jurats Jerry Ramsden and Steven Austin-Vautier were sitting.

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