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Prolific burglar loses appeal for lighter sentence


distraction burglar from Hemel Hempstead who conned his way into the home of a 94-year-old woman has lost his appeal to have a six year prison sentence reduced. William Beggs, 41, of Stonelea Road, already had a string of convictions for burglary when he talked his way into the sheltered accommodation in Watford in January last year.


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He pleaded guilty to burglary at Luton Crown Court in April and was given the six-year sentence, which was upheld at the Court of Appeal last month.


Beggs got into Home Manor House by ringing the buzzer to the communal door and saying he was there to see a resident, before going to the 94-year-old’s flat.


Inside, he picked up her handbag and looked inside, but then left when the quick-thinking pensioner pulled her alarm cord, alerting police.


When police arrived, Beggs was outside, banging on the windows in an agitated state. He later said he


had overdosed on medication and could remember nothing.


When he was sentenced at Luton, Beggs was told he was being given


a sentence


longer than would normally be given for such a burglary because


of his


extensive criminal record.


At the Court of


Appeal in London, Beggs’ lawyers argued before Lord Justice Pitchford, Mr Justice Simon and Mr Justice Underhill that the sentence was too long.


Beggs’ behaviour was a “cry for help”, the appeal judges were told, and his victim had considered him to be “odd, rather than dangerous”.


But giving the judgment, Mr Justice Simon said


Beggs had been in and out of prison for crimes which included some similar to the Watford burglary.


“Te appellant is a hardened distraction burglar and was on licence for such an offence at the time,” he continued.


“We recognise that this resulted in a stiff sentence, but it was not one which, in our view, was manifestly excessive.”


4 l October 2012 l www.mynewsmag.co.uk


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