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Wedding ring thief Steven Kerr jailed for 14 years
A drug addict who robbed his 87-year-old neighbour and stole the wedding ring from her finger has been jailed for 14 years.
Nellie Holliday died some weeks after balaclava-wearing Steven Kerr, 35, robbed her as she was in bed in her own home late at night.
Howard Shaw, prosecuting, said she repeatedly screamed when she phoned for help after he left.
Kerr, her near neighbour who had done gardening for her in the past, was on bail for drug offences at the time and went on to burgle a house using keys stolen from the owner’s cleaner. The Recorder of York, Judge Stephen Ashurst, told him: “I don’t detect a single redeeming feature so far as your behaviour towards Nellie Holliday is concerned.”
“She was absolutely distraught. She was still shaking at the time when a police officer arrived to speak to her and the psychological impact upon a lady of advanced years in the last months of her life must not be lost sight of. There is, I am afraid, precious little mitigation in your particular case.”
He said the robbery was at the “very top end of the range of seriousness”.
Mrs Holliday was so frail she had to sleep downstairs in her house, suffered from high blood pressure and amnesia and was hard of hearing, York Crown Court heard. She has since died of an unrelated illness.
Kerr’s barrister, Sabrina Hartshorn, said while her client was on remand, another prisoner had attacked him and broken his eye socket. Kerr was awaiting surgery to have a plate inserted into his cheekbone.
Kerr, of Highfield Crescent, Barlby, denied robbing Mrs Holiday on March 9, 2011, of her wedding ring and a necklace, but was convicted by a jury after a four-day trial in April. He pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of Subbutex, a Class C drug, between December 2008 and October 2009 to friends, permitting the use of his home for the supply of heroin on October 29, 2009, and burgling a house in River Street, Selby, on May 10, 2011. He was jailed for a total of 14 years.
Mr Shaw said the police raided Kerr’s home on October 29, 2009, and caught Errol Shaun Thackeray, 45, inside with 13.7g of heroin. They also found drug dealing paraphernalia and mobile phones with text messages about the Subbutex supply.
In the River Street burglary, Kerr took a fob watch presented to the owner’s father when he retired in 1935. He scratched out the inscription on the back and sold it at a jeweller’s.
Miss Hartshorn said he had used drugs since he was 15 and committed offences to fund his heroin habit.
Errol Shaun Thackeray, of D’Arcy Road, Selby, pleaded guilty to possessing 13.7g of heroin with intent to supply it to Kerr and Kerr’s then girlfriend. He was given a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years on condition he did 250 hours’ unpaid work.
The judge said he had reduced the normal sentence for heroin dealing because he had had to wait more than a year for his sentence while Kerr stood trial for robbery.
Thackeray’s solicitor advocate Mark Partridge said since his arrest he had turned his life around. He had kicked his drug habit, his business as a painter and decorator had improved to the stage where he had become a taxpayer.