‘I am praying for you’: Islington vicar’s message to burglar jailed for three years after stealing dead wife’s jewellery

James Casey. Picture: Metropolitan Police

James Casey. Picture: Metropolitan Police - Credit: Archant

The crook who stole an Islington vicar’s dead wife’s jewellery has been jailed for three years - and Rev Simon Harvey last night said he wants to meet him.

Happier times: Rev Simon and Jennifer Harvey

Happier times: Rev Simon and Jennifer Harvey - Credit: Archant

On Monday, 39-year-old James Casey, of no fixed abode, was sentenced at Blackfriars Crown Court after pleading guilty to burglary at St Mary’s Church Vicarage, Upper Street, on May 25.

Jennifer Harvey was Rev Harvey’s childhood sweetheart and wife of 29 years. She died of a mystery illness only nine weeks before Casey stole her five rings.

As reported in the Gazette, Rev Harvey actually caught Casey in the act. After hearing noise in the vicarage’s second floor room, he investigated to find Casey.

The smooth-talking burglar said he had permission to be in the house as a contractor - before making a swift exit.

Quick thinking Rev Harvey took a picture of Casey on his phone. Then, after finding Jennifer’s rings were missing, he published an image of Casey which was shared by thousands on social media. This eventually led to his arrest.

Reacting to the sentencing, Rev Harvey, 51, told the Gazette: “I’m pleased the offender pleaded guilty and confronted what he did, which was cause intense pain to me and my family.

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“The rings haven’t been recovered but I am praying for him. He might find an opportunity for redemption and I hope he can change.

“When he was in my house that day, we had a brief conversation. I want to continue that conversation and hear his story.”

Rev Harvey, who is appealing for anyone with knowledge of the rings’ whereabouts to contact him, added: “This was a devastating blow.

“But I am so grateful to for all the support I was given. I was astonished by how many people expressed their sorrow and it enabled me to continue.”