A WOMAN whose £3,000 savings were stolen when her ex-boyfriend broke into her flat in Dawlish is to get most of the money back.
Benjamin Myers and his friend Stephen McDaid raided the property after ascertaining that the woman was out shopping in Exeter. Myers knew she had saved a large amount to buy a car and where she kept it.
The intruders were caught on a neighbour’s doorbell camera and caught with most of the money still on Myers, less a few hundred they had spent and about £600 he had given to his new girlfriend.
The two men both received suspended jail sentences at Exeter Crown Court last month but the Judge was unable to assess how much compensation to award because the police had not counted exactly how much they seized.
The victim will now receive £2,670 which comprises £2,200 found in Myers’s wallet and £470 found in his new partner’s handbag.
She had no idea it was stolen because the burglars had turned up at her house waving bundles of notes around and claiming they had won the money at a casino.
Judge David Evans ordered the restitution of £2,670 to the loser and the police will now return the cash, which they have been holding since arresting the two men on March 25.
In the original case, Myers, aged 31, of Old Town Walk, Dawlish, and McDaid, aged 25, of no fixed address, Teignmouth, admitted burglary. McDaid also admitted dangerous driving and having no insurance.
Judge David Evans imposed suspended jail terms of ten and 19 months respectively with conditions including rehabilitation days, unpaid community work and a drug rehabilitation requirement for McDaid. He described the burglary as mean.
Miss Evie Dean, prosecuting, told the previous hearing that the victim of the burglary had been in a short relationship with Myers which had ended. He knew that she had saved more than £3,000 cash to buy a car and kept it in a handbag in her ground floor flat.
She received a phone call from Myers on the morning of the raid in which she told him she was shopping in Exeter and she returned to find a rear window had been opened and the cash stolen.
Miss Dean said: 'About 30 minutes after the burglary, both defendants went to the home of Myers’s new partner. McDaid went into the living room with his hands full of £10 and £20 notes which they said they had won at a casino.
'Myers said they had won £10,000 but gambled £3,000 back and gave his girlfriend £600 and told her to buy something for herself. They spoke about buying a car and Myers spent about £100 on fuel, snacks and scratchcards at a filling station in Teignmouth.'
An impact statement said the victim no longer feels safe in her own home and was so shocked that she went to stay with her family for a while.
Miss Lisa Denley, for Myers, said it was McDaid who went into the flat but it was accepted that it had been a joint enterprise. She said they had gone to work on a Saturday, discovered they were not needed, and committed the burglary on impulse.
They had only been at the property for two and a half minutes and Myers felt remorseful immediately and pleaded guilty at the first opportunity. He is a trained diamond cutter who is currently working for a specialist building firm, which has given him an excellent reference.
Mr Paul Dentith, for McDaid, said he has been in custody since his arrest and this has enabled him to get off cocaine for the first time in years and to realise the damage that drugs have done to his life.
He has reached a turning point in his life and will go straight back to work as soon as he is released. He said the dangerous driving was short-lived, that nobody else was put at risk.