"Pocket Money Boy" Casey Bowen jailed again
A CAREER criminal dubbed ‘pocket money boy’ after he was paid £60-a-week by the Government to behave as a teen, burgled an 81-year-old’s home, while offering to help her tidy her garden.
Casey Bowen was jailed for three years for the callous theft from Suzanne Merrell’s St Paul’s Street North home in Cheltenham.
He took antique family heirlooms and she even gave him her car, on the promise he would return it, so he could take her rubbish to the dump.
But Gloucester Crown Court heard the 33-year-old took her car to another property the following day equipped with gloves for another burglary.
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But quick thinking Matthew Garrard of Sunset Lane, also in the spa town, saw him acting suspiciously and took his picture before Bowen realised he had been spotted and ran off.
Bowen, who committed his first burglary when he was aged just 14, was given the tax payer’s cash in 1994 as an incentive not to steal.
Prosecutor David Maunder said the elderly woman, who lived alone, found Bowen standing in her cluttered garden.
He told the court: “He said he would get rid of the garden waste. There were many bags of rubbish and cuttings and she was grateful for the offer of help.
“He followed her into the house and she described him as polite and friendly.”
He was in her home for more than three hours under the pretence of helping her and spent time going through her draws and cabinets.
It was only the next day she discovered nearly 40 items missing.
That same day Mr Garrard saw Ms Merrell’s silver hatchback Rover pull up at his home and Bowen got out.
Mr Maunder said the defendant started putting on gloves, on the hot day, which immediately led to Mr Garrard’s suspicions.
He grabbed his camera and started taking his picture, which police officers identified as Bowen.
Bowen, who was taking cocaine at the time, has 37 convictions for 91 offences and has previously been given prison sentences for robbery, drugs supply and assault.
He was released from prison on licence from a six-and-a-half year sentence for robbery and drugs supply in November 2012.
Defending Lloyd Jenkins said: “On his realise he was co-operative, reliable and keen to prove a leopards do change their spots.
“The lure of Cheltenham was too strong by March and he was back with his negative influences and had started taking cocaine.
“I have to concede these are mean offences, particularly on an elderly victim clearly vulnerable.
“He was initially there to do a good deed, but while in the property, that was akin to an Aladdin’s cave, he succumbed to his old habits.
“I have seen signs of him growing up and for the first time ever he has demonstrated genuine remorse. He said he was ashamed of his behaviour.”
Mr Jenkins said he asked Bowen, a father-of-two, how he would feel if it was his grandmother.
Bowen was said to have looked down and paused, before stating: “I feel horrible. What I have done is out of order and I am sick of it. It is time to change.”
Judge William Hart jailed him for three years.
He said: “As things turned out it was a matter of a leopard disguising its spots.
“Ms Merrell had put her faith in your good will and how wrong she was.”
He pleaded guilty to burglary of Ms Merrell where he stole including china, glass and a clock on July 14.
Bowen, of Stirling Court, Cheltenham, also admitted taking a vehicle without authority on the same day as well as going equipped for burglary the following day.