Saturday, 13 April 2013

#Neighbourgate or Miss Nelson-Marple investigates

Evenin' all. *Spoken in a Dixon of Dock Green manner*

Some of you who have been following me a while will know of my rather 'Jeremy Kyle' incident with the neighbours in January.  In summary: after 'doing me a favour' during November of fixing a damp patch while I was at work, ergo being trusted with my front door key (which was handed back to me afterwards); my house was burgled by them between November and the end of January when their activities had been discovered by me. The most likely, indeed only logical conclusion is that my front door key was copied, hence the so and so's entering my house while I was at work.  

What follows is the letter I passed onto the detective who dealt with my case, addressed to The Crown Prosecution Service in the hope it would have some sway with the sentencing, which will be on 23rd April 2013. 

I'll blank out names of the officers and the 'Jeremy Kyle' neighbour, not to protect him as such, but to not balls up the sentencing later on this month. 

** R__________ Road,

Crown Prosecution Service
Nuneaton Burglary Team
Vicarage Street
CV**  *DW

Re. Burglary at my address
Incident Number: _ _ _
Crime reference Number: _ _ _ _

     Dear Sir,

First of all, thank you to PC M________ C_________ and Detective S________ E__________ for all their assistance in this matter.  It is incredibly distressing to be burgled by your neighbours, and all involved have been kind, professional, calm and reassuring.

There are some details I would like to be taken into consideration when Mr. B______ goes to court on 2nd April 2013.

I spoke to Detective. S_____ E_______ on Friday 1st February 2013, regarding the arrest and charging of neighbour on the same day.  Detective. ________ gave me a verbal summary of Mr. _______'s confession at the police station and there are some worrying discrepancies between the chain of events and what he claims he did and indeed didn’t do.  Here is a summary of what Mr. __________ told me on that date.

  1. Mr. A______ B_______ did eventually admit to committing the burglary
  2. He claims he only entered the property once
  3. He claims he entered the property via my unlocked back door
  4. He claims that this happened on Tuesday 22nd January 2013 the same date he was captured on CCTV attempting to sell my jewellery to ‘Second Time Around’ jewellers at **Long Street, Atherstone.
  5. He claims he had only stolen 4 items, although 7 items are listed as stolen

With reference to point 2 above:

 I first noticed the ‘Cariad’ ring (on the list provided to PC C________ on Monday 28th January 2013) missing on 14th December 2012.  I was very distressed about it being missing and consequently checked all jewellery boxes in case I had misplaced it or put it in the wrong box.  All the other items listed as stolen, with the exception of the ‘Monet’ ring, were present on that date. Therefore, two items were missing from my property on that date, but the rest had not yet been stolen.

Additionally, the moment I realised the Cariad ring was missing I rang my mum, who was equally distressed by the matter. Whilst I was talking to my mum on the phone, my friend C______ W______ called round to pick me up for a meal with friends that afternoon. He is also a witness to my distress.

This ring was immediately recognised by the proprietor at ‘Second Time Around’ and it was this ring that was eventually sold, with 3 other items, to the gold dealers, H______’s, on The Market Square, Atherstone, on 22nd January 2013.  Therefore, it is probable that the Cariad ring had been in Mr. B______s possession for approximately 2 months before he sold it.

On Saturday evening 26th January 2013, the day I noticed that someone had been in my property, all my jewellery boxes were checked and that is when I noticed precisely how many items were missing, which was 7 in total.  Therefore, 5 items were taken between 14th December 2012 and 26th January 2013 meaning my property was entered on more than one occasion.

With reference to point 3.
I check both rear and front doors are locked, in a rather OCD like fashion, at least twice before I leave for work.  I often get out of my car to check a 3rd time before actually leaving for work. The claim that it was unlocked on 22nd January 2013 highly improbable.

With reference to point 4, Tuesday 22nd January the date that Mr. B_____ claims he entered my property:

This was the week that we all experienced heavy snow.  At the rear of the property is a shared alley-way that all houses on this side of the road have access to.  It was covered in snow and the snow was ‘virgin’ (as in not walked upon at all).  If Mr. B_____ had done as he had said, there would have been very noticeable foot-prints, leading to and from my property to his, in the snow.   My bins and recycling are at the rear of my property, therefore I would have immediately noticed such foot prints. Being nothing but logical here, had Mr. B______ entered my property in the manner in which he states,  I would have detected the burglary on 22nd January 2013 and informed the police on that date, instead of the evening of Saturday 26th January 2013, which is when the true extent of the burglary was discovered.

My supposition is that when the neighbours were previously given access to my property on 23rd November 2012, in order to help fix a damp patch in my house, they were lent a key to access the property while I was at work, this was returned to me. However, I believe they had a copy of my key made.  Mr. B______ has not admitted to such in his statement, nor was a key found in the property search, but I do not believe he is being honest here either.  As neither occupants of ** Richmomd Road own a car or drive, the key copying would have been done locally in Atherstone.  The following paragraph explains why this is likely.

My locks were changed on Sunday 27th January 2013. I left for work at approximately 6.50 am, and for obvious reasons, I took great care to check both my back and front door were locked and checked them more than once. The front door handle was down when I left. On my return home my front door handle was up, suggesting that someone had attempted to enter my property from the front with a key. (The handle needs to be turned up for the door to be fully unlocked).  Additionally, on that date the behaviour of Mr. B_____ and his cousin L_______ altered considerably after that date.  They were not longer chatty and friendly with me when I returned from work and Mr. B_______ in particular has not said a word to me since that date.

Mr. B________ may have admitted the Burglary, to some extent, but it is improbable that he is telling the truth regarding the method of the burglary.  There are too many discrepancies between what he has claimed: what went missing when; stating that he only entered my property once; the weather conditions and his behaviour.  Being burgled is stressful enough without the other party continuing to be dishonest, and to add insult to injury, claiming that my back door was unlocked will make an already awkward and difficult claim to my insurers even more problematic.

The notion that this was an ‘opportunistic’ burglary does also not ring true. If that were the case, a range of items, of differing values would have been taken.  However, of the jewellery I had, it was the items with the most value that were taken. The pieces with the most gold in (in some cases, gem stones) indicated that this was rather more planned and calculated than is suggested in his statement to Mr. E_______.  

If Mr. B_______ 's account of how he completed burglary is repeated in court, having sworn to tell the truth, it seems that he would be placing himself in contempt of court.

The other thing I would like taking into consideration, are the sentimental attachments to two specific pieces of jewellery that were stolen.

  1. The Cariad Ring

This was bought for me by my mother in 2005.  This ring was incredibly special and meaningful to mother, my sister and I.  All three of us had nursed my dad at home while he was dying from liver cancer.  We each had the same ring and it was a ‘medal of honour’ if you will, as it commemorates my father and the memories of those difficult days of nursing him to his death.  The company, Clogau Welsh Gold, no longer make this ring, so in every conceivable sense of the word, this ring is irreplaceable. It would not be an exaggeration to say that I am heartbroken that it has been stolen, and worse still, sold as ‘scrap’ to be melted down in Birmingham’s jewellery quarter so that the occupants of No. ** Richmond Road can squander the proceeds  on goodness knows what.

  1. The Cariad Stirling Silver and rose gold cross pendant.

This pendant was bought for me by my sister as a birthday present in 2006.  The pendant was purchased in Aberaeron, my dad’s favourite place in Wales, which he spoke of a great deal before he died.  This gift was incredibly meaningful for my sister and I.  When I informed her that it too had been stolen, she was very upset and distressed.

The burglary has been incredibly stressful, causing me sleeplessness, anxiety, loss of appetite and consequently, weight loss.  Both my mother and my sister have been worried for my physical and mental well being and have been very distressed by the theft of the two items named above. 

As with regard the other pieces.  With the exception of the ‘Tree of Life Ring’ the other pieces stolen are also no longer made by the Clogau Gold company, so also irreplaceable.   It took me 7 years to pay for and accumulate those pieces.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and for all members of the local police force who have had some hand in this case.  As a fellow public servant (teacher) I understand what a thankless work this can be at times, and appreciate the efforts of all those involved.

   Yours sincerely,

      Miss G M Nelson
      The newspaper article from the Nuneaton News, oddly creating some level of sympathy for the burglar in the sub-heading.

Thanks to @LizSaddler for tweeting me the picture of this. 

The teaching type bit....

Now, thinking with my English teacher hat on (reluctantly, as it's the last weekend of freedom at Easter), this could be of use to you in your lessons, possibly.....

1. Stimulus for a speaking and listening task - either by doing a 'mock trial' or debating the just punishment for the culprit.  
2. For use in Citizenship lessons when our justice system is studied.
3. Non-Fiction writing - inform/explain/describe with some rhetoric chucked in
4. Stimulus for a newspaper, magazine or news broad-cast.
5. Hot-seating the victim and the accused - developing use of pupil's questioning
6. Writing about the incident from a range of perspectives - the police, the accused, other neighbours on the street, friends and family. 
7. Tweet the series of a events from different points of view
8. Dramatise - the sequence of events or construct a 'Crimewatch' appeal
9. An episode of Jeremy Kyle!
10. Writing to advise - these neighbours are still my neighbours - what advice can you give me about how to cope with this situation?

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