Burglar who targeted disabled Holloway tot’s campaign cash loses appeal
PUBLISHED: 15:50 23 April 2013 | UPDATED: 15:50 23 April 2013
A heartless burglar who targeted the fundraising pot of a severely disabled two-year-old girl has had his shameless appeal against his “harsh” jail sentence quashed.
Jermaine Martin-Atkins raided the toddler’s home in Surr Street, Holloway, last summer after learning of a Facebook campaign which was part of a £33,000 fundraising effort to buy the tot a prosthetic arm.
But the 24-year-old was this week condemned after shamelessly appealing his three-and-a-half year jail sentence – claiming it was too harsh – after appearing at the High Court last week.
The court heard Martin-Atkins, of south London, had travelled miles from his home with an accomplice in August last year to raid the empty property on the Holloway council estate ay night.
The young mother later returned with her daughter, whose identities the Gazette is protecting, on the evening of the robbery to find their home ransacked.
Martin-Atkins, having pleaded guilty to burglary, was handed the three-and-a-half year jail term at Blackfriars Crown Court in January, after the sentencing judge decided he had deliberately targeted the home after seeing the online appeal.
But lawyers for the burglar argued there was no evidence of him having looked at the Facebook appeal page, where the address of the home was not given they claimed, and that it was wrong for the judge to assume he deliberately targeted the home.
However, branding the break-in an “utterly disgraceful and lawless offence” Lord Justice Pitchford dismissed the appeal at the High Court last week.
He added the Crown Court judge had been entitled to reach their conclusion as there was “no other sensible explanation for the targeting of this property”.
He agreed Martin-Atkins was “aware of the possibility of rich pickings” at the home of the disabled girl and that the stiff sentence, despite a guilty plea, was justified.
Detective Chief Inspector Paul Cheadle said: “Martin-Atkins was in Islington purely to commit crime. As a result of the prompt response and actions of police officers and the forensics team we were confident that we had sufficient evidence to secure a conviction which has been confirmed by the court’s decision. This should serve as a clear warning to other criminals who choose to burgle.”
The girl, now three-years-old, was born in 2009 with a severely shortened right arm and no right hand, meaning she needs flexible silicone replacements, but will need several until she is 18.
Research has shown children born without an upper limb adapt better throughout their life the earlier they start using a suitable prosthetic arm.
The fundraising campaign was launched after a request for funds from local health commissioners for the prosthetic arm and hand was turned down for not being “cost effective”.
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