A WOMAN who was taken in by a friend after leaving an abusive partner then burgled him, a court heard.
Crystal Rowson, 28, of Lloyds Place, Blacon, stole a laptop from John Cook, who lived in Glyn Garth, Blacon, after she became upset after he allegedly propositioned her.
Rowson also told her sister, Donna Worthington and partner, Martin Fitzpatrick, who later went round to Mr Cook’s flat and assaulted him before Fitzpatrick stole a netbook and bag of coins from the house.
Yesterday, during a sentencing hearing at Chester Crown Court, defence barrister, Christopher Hunt, said Rowson had a “dickensian” upbringing blighted by poverty, class A drugs and abusive relationships with men.
Mr Hunt told the court Rowson was practically brought up by Worthington and had entered into a relationship with a 30-year-old man when she was just 13 which turned violent. At 17 she gave birth to her first child and at 21 she managed to get away from the relationship, get clean of drugs and started a new one with another man.
She then had two more children and this relationship also turned physically abusive. He said this relationship came to an end in January when Rowson was on the receiving end of a “significant amount of violence” which left her unconscious in the street.
Mr Hunt said after this relationship ended her former partner would not give her any of the benefit payments she was receiving to look after her children and she fell back into a cycle of despair and drug addiction.
During this time she became friends with Mr Cook, who occasionally let her sleep on the floor of his flat and took her in once her electricity in her flat was cut off.
Mr Hunt said Rowson became angry when Mr Cook allegedly asked her if she wanted to sleep in his bed, which she believed was a proposition and refused.
She then went to speak to her sister the next day.
Prosecuting, Gareth Roberts, said Rowson left the property in the morning and came back with another man who claimed to be her father. The man, who is currently awaiting a trial, allegedly threatened Mr Cook and began demanding £100 for “his taxi fare from Liverpool”.
Mr Cook refused and the pair left and Rowson stole a laptop from the property before leaving.
Later that day Fitzpatrick, 46, of Hillside Road, Blacon, and Worthington, 39, of Stamford Road, Blacon, went to the property and forced their way in. Worthington claimed to be Rowson’s mother and slapped Mr Cook in the face for the alleged proposition.
Fitzpatrick then punched Mr Cook in the face for the same reason and picked up a netbook computer, which he said he was taking because he thought it would have “perverted pictures” on it.
Fitzpatrick also picked up a bag of coins before leaving the address with Worthington.
Mr Roberts said all three had previous convictions related to their class A drug abuse. He said Rowson had convictions for theft but none since 2007, when she had managed to get clean from a drug addiction.
Fitzpatrick had a lengthy record with drug offences, thefts, burglaries and a 12 month prison sentence in 2011 for an assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
Worthington had drug offences including the supply of heroin in 1995 and was currently subject to a suspended sentence order for supplying class B amphetamines which she was in breach of.
Defending for Fitzpatrick and Worthington, Patrick Thompson, said both genuinely believed Mr Cook acted inappropriately at the time and went up to confront him. He said the burglary was clearly not planned and Worthington was not charged with burglary to reflect that as she had not taken anything out of the property.
Mr Thompson conceded that due to Fitzpatrick’s record he was facing a custodial sentence but said Worthington did not deserve one as she was only guilty of a minor assault and had served three months on remand.
The judge, Recorder David Osbourne, said Rowson had a “difficult childhood blighted by poverty, awful relationships with people, domestic violence and drug abuse”.
He sentenced her to a 12 months in prison, suspended for a year, gave her a 12 month supervision order with a drug treatment requirement attached to that.
He sentenced Fitzpatrick to 12 months in prison for burglary and another three months for the assault to run concurrently.
Worthington received a 12 month supervision order for her assault.
See full story in the Chester Leader