Brighton burglar meets her victims to say sorry

Posted On 23 Sep 2011 at 3:14 pm

A prolific burglar from Brighton has met some of her victims to apologise for her crimes.

She took part in a community resolution conference where the offender meets a victim to apologise and explain their behaviour.

Sussex Police said that the meetings were used after certain criminals had been convicted to try to help victims and to offer a way forward for prolific offenders.

In March a Sussex officer was approached by a 31-year-old Brighton woman who wanted to learn about the “restorative process”.

From Between 2008 to 2010 she and her then partner had carried out a series of burglaries in Brighton and Hove.

After being convicted she served five and a half months in prison, completed a seven-month residential drug rehabilitation programme and was close to finishing a six-month supervision order.

She said she wanted to address the harm she had caused other and move to a more positive stage in her life.

A list of victims was compiled and contacted, explaining the offender’s situation, explaining what a restorative process entailed and how people could become involved.

Regret

Positive replies were received from three of her victims, who were all interested in meeting her.

A fourth victim asked for a victim impact statement to be read out at the conference.

The victims met the woman who was accompanied by her drug worker at a planned community resolution conference at an office in Brighton.

During the meeting, the offender expressed regret for the harm that her actions had caused.

One of her victims, Robin, explained how he had felt victimized.

Another of her victims, Laura, who had been burgled, spoke of the loss of sentimental items, which had been stolen from her.

The offender explained that her actions were opportunistic to fund her then drug habit and not malicious.

The third victim, Paul, who had caught her and her partner breaking into his home, spoke of how this had afffected him and left him with problems sleeping.

But he said that attending the conference had given him “closure”.

Brave

The offender agreed to email the three victims to update them on her continuing recovery from drug addicition and of her plans to volunteer to help other drug addict offenders.

Paul said: “It was incredibly brave of her to meet us and make amends.

“I feel like a real stakeholder in her ongoing recovery now, which is a positive feeling. “Let’s hope the use of these community resolution conferences becomes more widespread as it is clearly an effective process for everyone.”

PC Tom Gallagher, who attended the conference said: “After some nervy introductions, each victim was given the opportunity to tell their own accounts of what had happened to them and the impact that it had caused.

“The offender spoke openly about her drug addiction which drove her criminal behaviour and the conference provided a platform from which she could demonstrate to her victims that her actions were never personal.

“Each of the three victims expressed their gratitude to the offender and commended the courage it must have taken to attend.

“In turn, the offender expressed sincere regret and offered to make amends in anyway she could.

“Tears were shed before the end of the conference and it was an important cathartic experience for all.”

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