West Ealing Looter Spared From Jail Because Degree At Risk
Judge says it was a 'stupid and opportunistic moment of madness'
A student actor who was caught on camera looting goods from Seba Electronics in West Ealing has been spared jail because he faced losing his university place.
The Daily Telegraph reports that Pierre Wilkinson, 21, a film student and a member of the National Youth Theatre, from Pinner, was threatened with being thrown out of his final year at Kingston University.
He could have been sent to prison for six months but Judge Ian Darling, at Inner London Crown Court, took the “exceptional circumstances” of reducing the sentence to four months - which saw him walk free from court.
He and his accomplice Frederick Osei, 22, took a computer tower, a Blu-Ray player, a DVD recorder and a microwave looted from Seba Electronics which lost all it's stock totalling £200,000 on August 8th.
Wilkinson and Osei were caught on CCTV acting suspiciously four hours after the store had been ransacked and emptied of goods.
The pair were seen rummaging through empty boxes dumped in the street and were arrested as they were driving off.
They pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods at an earlier hearing.
Sentencing Wilkinson, Judge Darling said: "It's apparent to me in all respects you are an exceptional young man admired and respected and expected to go far.
"You of all people know how badly you have let yourself down in the way you never imagined possible.
"You have a future. Well, we all have a future. Sometimes we have to live with the consequences of our actions.
"I am told if you go back into custody, you will have lost your place at university and all you have worked for.
"For what? A stupid and opportunistic moment of madness."
He added recent guidelines said the appropriate sentence for handling in riot cases was six months.
But he added: "If I am told, the serving of further months in custody results in you losing your university place, I must consider if in truth that's justified by your behaviour taking all matters into account and submissions made the deterrence of any custodial sentence has already been served.
"I conclude I can take exceptional circumstances and reduce slightly the sentence."
Because he had served five-and-a-half weeks on remand before being bailed and electronically tagged for a further seven-and-a-half weeks he had already served half the jail term.
Wilkinson, who has a professional agent and is the son of an accountant, walked free as his family and girlfriend sat in court.
His accomplice Osei who was in custody and has previous convictions was jailed for six months.
4th November 2011