Northamptonshire dad ripped off housemate and stole son’s Christmas present in bid to keep afloat

Northampton Crown Court.
Northampton Crown Court.

A Wellingborough man who broke into his estranged wife’s house to steal his son’s Christmas present and took more than £7,000 from a housemate’s credit card has been handed an eight-month prison sentence.

Jayntibhai Patel, of Priory Road, Wellingborough, appeared at Northampton Crown Court to be sentenced yesterday after admitting two counts of fraud and one of burglary.

He had already pleaded guilty to the charges at an earlier hearing and has been in custody since December 2014.

Prosecuting, Lynsey Knott, said the father-of-three had been struggling financially since a break-up with his wife of 17 years and the mother of his children at the start of 2014.

But shortly after leaving the family home and moving into a house share on Priory Road, Wellingborough, in February 2014, he took two of his housemate’s credit cards to buy goods and make more than £7,500 cash withdrawals.

The prosecutor told the court that Patel was struggling to make “mortgage repayments” on the marital home in Wellingborough.

When the housemate grew suspicious, Patel was arrested and charged with two counts of fraud.

But, while on bail on December 6, the father-of-three then burgled his wife’s home in order to take an Apple MacBook intended for his son’s Christmas present and one of her DKNY handbags.

He had use a wheelie bin to reach into a window after his wife had changed the locks.

The MacBook was later recovered from a pawn shop in Wellingborough, the court heard.

Sentencing him, recorder Adrian Jack, said: “You stole a MacBook that had been bought for your son. That caused a great deal of distress for your former partner and your family.”

Patel was given four-month concurrent sentences for both the fraud charges and a four month consecutive sentence for the burglary, meaning he would effectively serve four months in prison and a further four months on licence.

However, in a short mitigation, James McLernon, defending for Patel, stated that his client should be considered for immediate release as he had been in jail since December and had effectively served the custodial part of his sentence already.