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Home Kent News Article
by Paul Hooper
Serial burglar Alex Gunn broke into the home of a Sturry family and snatched a handbag in front of a startled mother-of-three.
Then, as terrified Joanne Goodban phoned for help, the 25-year-old raider escaped in her car.
The stolen Vauxhall Astra was spotted by CCTV cameras in Canterbury and Gunn (pictured left) then led police on a 110mph pursuit - ending with him wrecking the car.
Divorcee Mrs Goodban later told police: "I am utterly distraught about someone coming into my house. I now feel scared to leave my own home. I feel frightened in case he ever comes back."
Gunn's break-in at the house in Hudson Close came in May this year - just four weeks after he was released from a 38-month jail sentence for three similar burglaries.
Canterbury Crown Court heard Gunn, who lived in Harrow, had travelled to Margate to sell drugs and wanted a car to return to north London.
Although he admitted aggravated vehicle taking, Gunn denied burglary - claiming someone called Jermaine carried out the attack.
But a jury did not believe him – and he has now been jailed for six years and three months.
Denzil Pugh, prosecuting, told the court Mrs Goodban - who has three children aged 17, eight and seven - had gone to bed on May 25.
"She was woken up at about four o'clock the following morning by creaking coming from outside her bedroom door. She originally thought it was her daughter, but was swiftly disabused of that when Gunn walked into the bedroom.
"He started rummaging through her property and then grabbed one of her bags and made off. She got up and noticed windows downstairs had been opened.
"She then went into the garden to call her ex-husband and then the police. But as she was doing that she heard the sound of her own car being started and realised the burglar had taken the car keys from the bag. He then sped off."
The prosecutor added the car's registration number triggered police cameras 10 minutes later in Broad Oak and officers followed him around Rheims Way roundabout as it headed towards the A2.
Gunn, who was alone in the car, sped off through a red traffic light sign and onto the A2 at speeds of 110mph.
But when he tried to take the Dunkirk turn-off, he lost control of the stolen car and smashed it into a hedge - leaving £3,000 vehicle a write-off.
Mr Pugh added: "Having been extricated from the vehicle suffering from cuts and scrapes, he was interviewed but became belligerent and tried to cross examine the police officer."
Anthony Heaton-Armstrong, defending, said: "Clearly this defendant in committing these types of offences doesn't care what effect it has on his victims.
"But he went off the rails at a very vulnerable age and was treated cruelly – that's not an excuse – but people who are treated without care are apt to turn into uncaring adults."
Judge Michael O’Sullivan told Gunn: "Mrs Goodban’s 999 call was played to the jury and it was quite clear that this had been a terrifying experience for her.
"Not only that, but you took her car and wrecked it. At your trial you showed a manner of arrogance when you gave your evidence."
Gunn was also banned from driving for four years.
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