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Burglary offences were 'cry for help'

PUBLISHED: 11:00 02 April 2009 | UPDATED: 13:33 03 July 2010

A PROLIFIC burglar with 32 previous convictions for break-ins carried out his crimes for 18 years because his mental problems were not properly diagnosed, a court heard yesterday.

A PROLIFIC burglar with 32 previous convictions for break-ins carried out his crimes for 18 years because his mental problems were not properly diagnosed, a court heard yesterday.

The claims of Jamie Kavanagh's bipolar disorder leading to his “appalling” list of offences were made as he was sentenced for his latest burglary and attempted burglary in Yarmouth.

Magistrates heard the 35-year-old from Yarmouth had only been diagnosed with his condition, which leads to massive mood swings, at the end of last year and had broken into properties and businesses since 1990 as a cry for help.

Yesterday Kavanagh, of Marine Parade, was given a suspended prison sentence after he admitted burgling and stealing a guitar from Cash Generators, trying to break into the Quakers Meeting House and handling stolen goods taken from the former Yarmouth Mercury office.

Yarmouth Magistrates' Court heard the three offences occurred in January and February and since Kavanagh had been in custody his newly diagnosed mental state had improved after he was prescribed anti-convulsant drugs.

Fergus Harold, prosecuting, said that on January 17 Kavanagh broke into Cash Generators in Regent Street by climbing through a roof to steal a £120 guitar and amplifier.

Two weeks later he tried to break in to the Quakers' Meeting House on Howard Street South by throwing a brick through a door.

When arrested Kavanagh was found wearing a coat belonging to a workman that had been stolen from the former Mercury offices in Regent Street. The coat had been taken during a burglary in which £3,200 of tools were snatched.

Mr Harold said Kavanagh had a “long and lengthy history of burglaries and thefts” with 32 previous convictions for burglary and 38 for theft since 1990. Kavanagh also had an amphetamine drug habit, the court heard.

Annette Hall, representing Kavanagh, said that since he had been properly diagnosed with bipolar disorder his erratic mood swings had stabilised and he wanted to rebuild his life.

Ms Hall, describing Kavanagh's past behaviour, said: “He was effectively crying out for help. His life style had got chaotic dealing with these issues.

“He is someone who is highly motivated to change. He is the first person to recognise his previous convictions are absolutely appalling.”

Magistrates gave Kavanagh a 26 week prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, and placed him on a supervision and drug rehabilitation programme. He was also ordered to pay £200 compensation to the Quakers' Meeting House.


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