Safebreaker who nearly died after falling from Ipswich store during burglary is spared punishment

A police car outside Hawkshead on the day of the burglary

A police car outside Hawkshead on the day of the burglary

A burglar who nearly died after falling from an Ipswich store during a break-in has been spared punishment due to the extent of his injuries.

Edward Walker

Edward Walker - Credit: Archant

South East Suffolk Magistrates Court heard serial offender Eddie Walker, of Luther Road, Ipswich, sustained life-changing injuries as a result of plunging from a window at Hawkshead in the Buttermarket at around 4am on December 10.

The 42-year-old, who walked into court with the aid of a walking stick, pleaded guilty to stealing £284.45 from a safe at the outdoor clothing shop.

Despite having more than 30 previous convictions - many of which were for dishonesty offences, Walker was not jailed or given probation due to the effects of the brain-damage he sustained.

Deputy District Judge Richard Hawgood told Walker’s solicitor John Hughes: “The prison system would struggle to deal with somebody like this. The Probation Service or any supervisor of a community sentence would struggle to adhere to it, as he would struggle.

“He has suffered as a result of his own criminality. That’s what the evidence points to. Had he not had a fall he would have been a successful safebreaker and burglar.

“He’s suffered dramatically life-changing injuries. His life at one stage was in jeopardy.

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“I will take the exceptionally unique course to compensate the victim of his crime rather than take out punishment on him.”

Earlier prosecutor David Bryant told the court police and the keyholder of Hawkshead were called after the shop’s burglar alarm was activated.

They discovered Walker, formerly of Leopold Road, Felixstowe, lying on the concrete at the rear of the store with life-threatening head injuries.

Mr Bryant said a crowbar was nearby. On the first floor window sill there was a sum of money - £284.45.

Inside the shop a safe had been opened using a crowbar. The cash had been in the safe, which had been damaged.

A replacement would cost £400, the court heard.

Walker was taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge for treatment and remained in hospital for two months. He then discharged himself.

Walker – who also admitted being in breach of two conditional discharges at the time – was ordered to pay £400 compensation and £85 costs. The money will be deducted from his benefits.

In December 2012 Walker was jailed for 20 weeks after breaking into Premier Estate Stores in Bramford Lane, Ipswich, while drunk and stealing a till, a charity box, and cash.

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