Hotel thief turned wedding ‘to dust’
A BURGLAR who turned a couple’s wedding day “to dust” when he ransacked the bridal suite and stole the bride’s engagement ring has walked free from court.
Jamie Anstey broke into the hotel room and went through the couple’s belongings.
But after hearing the 35-year-old was sorry and had served four months in custody on remand, a judge at Swindon Crown Court imposed a suspended sentence.
Claire Marlow, prosecuting, said Amy Fox and groom Stephen were holding their wedding reception at the DeVere in West Swindon on Saturday, March 29.
She said two rooms had been joined to form the bridal suite and friends had put up wedding decorations.
But when the couple went up at about 1am they realised things were missing and their belongings had been rooted through.
Clothes had been pulled out of suitcases. As well as her engagement ring, the bride’s handbag, camera and mobile phone had been taken.
On the flat roof outside their window police found a 32-inch TV removed from another room, with Anstey’s fingerprints on it.
At his house they found some of the stolen property hidden in an airing cupboard. The ring has not been recovered.
Anstey told police he had touched the TV while “free running” on the roof with friends, claiming he had not put the items in his house.
Earlier, Recorder Harry Martineau was told prosecutors only accepted the hotel room was not a “dwelling” after another judge said Anstey would get “a substantial sentence on the facts, rather than what it is called”.
Had he been convicted of a dwelling burglary, Anstey would have received a three-year jail term because he had two previous convictions for house breaking.
Anstey, of Fenland Close, Middleaze, pleaded guilty to two counts of burglary and breaching a conditional discharge for two thefts. Stephen Parker, defending, said his client was not aware there had been a wedding as he didn’t turn on the lights when he entered the room.
He said he had taken drugs and a large amount of drink before the incident and was sorry.
If jailed, Anstey would lose his accommodation and would be unable to see his daughter, Mr Parker added.
Passing sentence, the judge said: “When you broke into the bridal suite at the DeVere Hotel you had the wits about you to make your way through the door.
“You were quite able to search and ransack the place, open the suitcases, disturb the clothes, find the engagement ring, take the cards. And you say, however, that you never paid attention and didn’t realise that you were entering somebody’s wedding.
“The fact is, for that couple that day in that room should have been one of the best in their life and you turned it into dust and ashes and dirt.
“I am very pleased to know you have expressed yourself as being ashamed of what you did.
“It is a vile thing to take a woman’s engagement ring on her wedding day and that is a very considerable personal loss for her that she may well feel for the rest of her life.”
He imposed an eight-month jail term, suspended for 18 months, with a three-month night curfew, an alcohol-treatment requirement and Think First programme.