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Driver Alvin Back jailed a year after burgling victim's home

Maidstone Crown Court, where back was sentenced

A driver who knocked down his former neighbour exactly one year after he had been convicted of burgling his house has been jailed for 14 months.

Alvin Back was on a suspended sentence for the break-in when he mounted the kerb while at the wheel of a Peugeot 106 and struck the legs of Paul Ambler on January 4 this year.

Mr Ambler was walking to his home in Mangravet Avenue, Maidstone, with his nine-year-old grand-daughter when he was hit by the car.

Maidstone Crown Court heard Mr Ambler fell onto the car bonnet but miraculously only suffered minor bruising.

Before the impact he had managed to push the little girl out of the way but she was said to have been left in "great distress".

Back, 21, did not have any insurance and drove away from the scene. The former alcoholic and cannabis user gave himself in to police the following day.

The court was told there was "bad blood" between the two men after Back burgled the Amblers' home while they were away on holiday in December 2010.

A safe containing more than £10,000 of jewellery was removed from a wall and only one piece has since been recovered.

Back, who lived with his parents next door at the time, admitted burglary with intent to steal although denied any involvement with the taking of the safe.

However, keys to the Amblers' BMW were found in his bedroom drawer.

On January 4 last year magistrates imposed a sentence of 150 days custody suspended for 12 months. This was later extended to 18 months.

However, Judge Philip Statman, told Back after he was convicted by a jury of dangerous driving that an immediate jail term was now inevitable.

"Your actions were premeditated and, for me, the aggravating feature of this offence is the effect your driving had on Mr Ambler's grand-daughter. She was frightened and in a state of great distress when this occurred."

The judge added that Back was not driving at "any real speed" when he struck Mr Ambler and was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

But he said he had a "bad" record of criminal convictions and the courts had tried "every possibility" to steer him away from crime.

"It is clear beyond doubt that this offence merits an immediate custodial sentence and it will be by some way the longest term of imprisonment you have served."

Back, now of no fixed address, was also banned from driving for 18 months and fined £250 for having no insurance.

Judge Statman said he was "persuaded" not to take action in respect of the breach of the suspended sentence.

Back had also denied an offence of assault by beating Mr Ambler on the same occasion but the jury were directed by the judge to return a formal not guilty verdict.

Passing sentence, he added: "The origins of this case undoubtedly in my judgment go back to December 2010 when, on your own admission, you burgled Mr Ambler's home.

"Since that date you have clearly not got on with him or indeed he with you."

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