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John Shipman and Gary Stow stole £500 from dementia sufferer in Canterbury

By Paul Hooper

An elderly deaf man with dementia slept unaware as two burglars broke into his home and stole money stashed in a bedside cupboard.

John Shipman and Gary Stow used a brick to smash a window at the house in Longport, before creeping around the property looking for cash.

They eventually fled after finding £500 in the man’s bedroom.

Gary Stow
Gary Stow

Prosecutor Neil Ross told Canterbury Crown Court that the pair had waited for the victim’s wife to leave the house before breaking in.

When she returned she discovered the window had been smashed and a vase also damaged, but her husband was still asleep in bed and unaware of the break-in.

Shipman and Stow – who between them have previous convictions totalling more than 165 offences – were caught on CCTV and recognised by police.

Now plasterer’s labourer Shipman, 46, of Craddock Road, Canterbury, and Stowe, 48, from Kings Road, Aylesham, have each been jailed for three years after appearing by prison video link and admitting their part in last month’s burglary.

John Shipman
John Shipman

Mr Ross said: “The room where the dementia sufferer was asleep was actually searched by the defendants and inside a bedside cupboard the cash was taken, together with a £30 lighter.”

Judge Heather Norton told them: “You broke into the house of an elderly man who sufferers from dementia and, worse still, you went into the room where he was asleep in order to steal from the owners of that house.

“Both of you have an appalling criminal record. I am told that this was not an offence Shipman committed out of desperation to get drugs. Indeed, he was having support from a homeless charity and had work.

“That makes this offence even more inexplicable, leading me to conclude that you two are career criminals who burgle for a living and this was simply a continuation of your appalling record.”

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