Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Winmarleigh burglary victim receives apology from offender

A teacher whose home was burgled while she slept has received an apology after meeting with the thief who targeted her house.

Victoria Draycott lost valuable and sentimental items in the raid on her Winmarleigh (between Lancaster and Garstang) home in May 2009. Although some of her property was later recovered, she was left feeling vulnerable and wanted to know why she had been selected as a victim.

The 27-year-old man who broke into her home was later jailed but on his release from prison he agreed to discuss why he had committed his crimes with a number of the victims he targeted. This restorative justice approach, where a victim and an offender are brought together to talk things through, is often used to give victims the chance to gain closure over an incident and to help offenders think about their behaviour and how it has affected others.

Victoria met with the man at a police community building in Lancaster and found their discussion extremely useful.

“Victoria had felt as though she had been specifically targeted," explained PC Phil Ladlow, who chaired the meeting. "Understandably, she worried that her home may have been watched for some time before the actual break-in and felt uneasy that strangers had been in her home. When she met the offender, he apologised for causing her such distress and explained that he had been high on drugs when he committed his crimes, picking houses at random just to fuel his habit.

“Talking this through put Victoria’s mind at rest and she feels as though she can put it behind her and move on.”

“It was an emotional meeting and the offender himself was anxious that Victoria would be angry with him," he added, "but in fact she was very understanding and accepted his apology.

"Seeing the distress he had caused to another person made the offender really consider his actions and will hopefully prevent him from carrying out further crimes.”

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