Chester rabbit thief offered victim £500 to drop charges


Staff reporter (Chester First)

A BURGLAR has been jailed after he tried to bribe his terrified victim to lie to police.

Marlon Burrows pleaded with Anneka Buckley to drop the charges against him days before he was to face trial for burgling her house, stealing £1,600 of garden equipment and her children’s cherished pedigree pet rabbits and their hutches, Chester Crown Court heard yesterday.

Burrows, 36, from Elm Square, Lache, Chester, broke in to Miss Buckley’s Lache home at night forcing open a window before removing her shed keys from inside and setting about his thieving spree which also included children’s bikes, play equipment and a barbecue.

Miss Buckley had been moving home when Burrows struck on July 24. Burrows was later arrested after leaving his fingerprints at the scene, said Jo Maxwell, prosecuting.

Just over two weeks before he was due to face trial, Burrows, who had pleaded guilty to burglary but denied theft, confronted Miss Buckley at a relative’s home where he begged her to drop the charges against him.

Ms Maxwell said: “Mr Burrows offered to secure and obtain the stolen property if Miss Buckley dropped the charges. He also went on to say that he would give her a sum of £500 also.

“There was an allegation that if Miss Buckley did not drop the charges then he would not return the property. Miss Buckley says Mr Burrows was alternating between laughing and being upset, telling her that he had recently rekindled his relationship with his partner and children and he intimated towards her that he did not want to go to prison. Mr Burrows was keen to inform Miss Buckley that had he known she was a friend to an acquaintance, he would not have carried out the burglary.”

Ms Maxwell said Burrows had asked Miss Buckley to “explain away” his fingerprints left at the scene by telling police that he had done some work for her at her home.

Meanwhile, the court heard Burrows had been polite and had not threatened Miss Buckley in any way during their exchange.

Burrows was convicted of theft after trial at West Cheshire Magistrates in September and was remanded in custody ahead of sentencing at Chester Crown Court yesterday, when he also admitted perverting the course of justice.

The court heard Miss Buckley had been left terrified and had experienced trouble sleeping since the burglary. She had also been fearful of reprisals.

Kate Morley, defending, said Burrows was extremely remorseful for his actions and apologised to the victim and all concerned.

“Being in custody has been a wake-up call for Mr Burrows, it has been a particularly unpleasant experience for him,” she said.

Ms Morley said Burrows had been struggling to come to terms with the loss of his son who was tragically killed after being run over, and had been having bereavement counselling in custody which he intended to continue after his release from prison.

Jailing Burrows for 16 months, the Recorder of Chester, Judge Elgan Edwards, said: “Your conduct was disgraceful. You were living on the same estate as this woman and you deliberately committed a very mean set of events. Not only did you steal from that lady but you also set out to bribe her.”

See full story in the Chester Leader

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