Burglars imprisoned after breaking into deceased man’s home in Northampton whilst high on cocaine

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The Judge, in her sentencing remarks, dubbed this a “very mean offence”

A man and a woman have been imprisoned for carrying out a joint burglary on a deceased man’s Northampton home whilst high on crack cocaine.

Lea Sabin, aged 48, of Tamar Square in Daventry, appeared at Northampton Crown Court on Tuesday, October 11 after pleading guilty to burglary, knife possession and theft.

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Vicky Fox, aged 39, of Sir John Pascoe Way, also appeared after pleading guilty to one count of burglary.

Lea Sabin, aged 48, and Vicky Fox, aged 39, were sentenced at Northampton Crown Court on Tuesday, October 11.Lea Sabin, aged 48, and Vicky Fox, aged 39, were sentenced at Northampton Crown Court on Tuesday, October 11.
Lea Sabin, aged 48, and Vicky Fox, aged 39, were sentenced at Northampton Crown Court on Tuesday, October 11.

The court heard that - on April 5, 2022 at 1.40am - police were called to a burglary in progress in Harpole.

Priya Bakshi, prosecuting, said the property was empty because the occupier died a couple of weeks prior to that day, which Sabin was aware of.

Police spotted Sabin and Fox climbing over the fence at the rear of the property whilst carrying large items. Officers shouted at them not to move.

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Ms Bakshi said both defendants were arrested and they had been carrying fishing equipment amongst other items. The prosecution barrister added that Sabin was seen dropping a knife and he had a silver pocket watch.

The court heard that Sabin was trusted to stay at his mother’s house nearby and look after her dogs whilst she was on holiday. Sabin, however, found out that he was in receipt of a back payment and wanted to celebrate with Fox by smoking crack cocaine, the court heard.

Ms Bakshi said the rear door of the deceased’s home was forced open and the couple brought gloves, masks and torches with them, which suggested a degree of planning.

Both defendants denied the burglary, stating they found the items by the fence, and claimed the pocket watch belonged to Sabin but the court heard that it belonged to his mother’s late husband and that Sabin had stolen it from his mother.

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Sabin has 39 previous convictions, including burglaries and shoplifting. Fox has 43 previous convictions but has committed no burglaries before.

Brad Lawler, defending Sabin, described the burglary as “opportunistic” and said Sabin has little to no recollection of the offences themselves, given the consumption of drugs.

In a letter written to the court, Sabin apologised and said he needs to take the help offered to him by probation or he will lose his flat. He said that he has let his family down after staying out of trouble for five years.

James Smith-Wildes, defending Fox, said that she has been struggling with drug addiction for a very long time.

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Mr Smith-Wildes added: “Her vulnerability makes her susceptible to influence, I will say no more than that.”

The court heard that Fox has been voluntarily attending meetings to deal with her addiction and probation officers have suggested that she could benefit from rehabilitation requirement days.

Her Honour Judge Lucking KC, sentencing, said: “You knew that the occupant had died a fortnight earlier. The occupant’s possessions were still in the premises and his son was still sorting through his father’s possessions and you took deliberate advantage of that situation.”

Addressing Sabin about the stolen pocket watch, she said: “This was a very mean offence where you took something that belonged to someone’s deceased husband.”

Sabin was sentenced to 30 months imprisonment and Fox was handed a 20 month custodial sentence.