A WEDDING ring of great sentimental value was stolen during a house break-in.
It was later recovered in a damaged condition after an attempt had been made to pawn it.
Mold Crown Court heard the ring was forensically examined and the DNA of Paul Lewis was found on it.
Lewis, 33, of Milford Street, Mold, was initially charged with burglary but the accusation was dropped when he admitted a handling charge.
He was given a suspended prison sentence, which was described as an act of mercy so he could attend his mother’s funeral.
Judge Niclas Parry said Lewis was a thoroughly dishonest man with an appalling criminal record.
He had handled sentimental, highly valuable, property, which had been taken during a house burglary.
“Burglaries would not occur unless people knew where they could get shot of stolen items,” the judge told him.
But Lewis had pleaded guilty and would get credit for that.
“I suspect the greatest punishment for you is that you had not been there for your mother,” Judge Parry told him. “You will feel guilty for that.”
The judge said he had decided to take an exceptional course, as an act of mercy. He would impose an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for a year.
“That does not truly reflect the gravity of what you did but I consider it right.” Prosecutor Emmalyne Downing said last September the victim and his wife were away on holiday and had left their son in charge of their home.
The property in Mold had been burgled and a large amount of jewellery taken, including the victim’s wedding ring, which was of great sentimental value.
Police inquiries revealed a woman had taken the ring to a pawn shop but staff had refused to buy it because she had been unable to provide ID.
That woman was traced and she showed where the ring had been discarded and when it was forensically examined, the defendant’s DNA was found upon it.
Lewis admitted he had also taken the ring to a pawn shop.
John Philpotts, defending, said his client was anxious the court should know he was not a house burglar.
It was not a case of a burglar getting away with a handling charge.
He had not been responsible for any burglary and had said in his interview: “I do not go into people’s houses.”
He accepted he had a long list of convictions, he would shoplift and had been caught for that but he was not a house burglar.
Mr Philpotts said his client had previously told him his mother was gravely ill and she had died last Wednesday morning.
Lewis had already served 11 weeks in custody on remand and Mr Philpott asked if the court could sentence him in such a way that he could attend his mother’s funeral.