Friends condemn 'joke' sentences over raid on Grimsby home days after pensioner Eddie Hindle's death
FRIENDS of a disabled pensioner whose home was burgled just days after his death have condemned the court sentences imposed on three defendants as "ridiculous" and "a joke".
They were left fuming after Eddie Hindle's neighbour, another man and a woman escaped with "soft" sentences for handling stolen goods that had been taken from the late cancer victim's home.
Mr Hindle, 74, a retired chief ship's engineer, had lived in The Square, Weelsby Street, Grimsby, but it was discovered in June last year that his home had been raided by burglars shortly after his death. Items including a television and tools were taken.
Mr Hindle hit the headlines two years before when he was the victim of a brutal assault by thieves as he returned home on his mobility scooter.
It was discovered after a raid on his home that his neighbour, Steven McKenzie, and two others – Norman Parry and Joanna Ayres – were involved in handling stolen goods. They all denied burglary and that charge was dropped.
McKenzie, 59, also of The Square; Parry, 71, of Hamilton Street, Grimsby; and Ayres, 32, of Tennyson House, Grimsby, all admitted handling stolen tools.
Patrick Palmer, prosecuting, told Grimsby Crown Court that Parry called at the home of Stuart Scott on June 2 and asked him if he wanted to buy some tools.
He later returned with a bag of tools. Ayres was with him and she had a large box of tools. Mr Scott noticed that one of the tools had the initials 'EVH' on it.
Mr Hindle had recently died and had been a friend and neighbour of Mr Scott.
"He was suspicious and bought the tool for £3 to investigate further and the two left his home," said Mr Palmer.
Anita Barratt, who had been looking after Mr Hindle's home, investigated and found that the pensioner's home had been burgled. She had most recently left it secure on May 31.
Police went to the home of McKenzie, who lived next door, and found all three defendants there. Tools were found in a wardrobe and chest of drawers and they were identified by Miss Barratt as belonging to Mr Hindle.
All three denied taking them and McKenzie claimed he found them in the back garden.
The trio – all heavy drinkers – claimed they did not know that Mr Hindle had died but his friends believe this was not true, not least because they would have seen the pensioner's belongings being cleared out after his death.
The Grimsby Telegraph reported at the time the widespread outrage that was caused in the community by the "sickening" burglary – and the bad feeling continued inside the court.
Parry hurled aggressive and abusive insults at Miss Barratt and other friends of Mr Hindle outside the courtroom – and he continued the abuse while he was sitting in the dock and they were in the public gallery. He carried on taunting them until just seconds before the judge walked in to court.
McKenzie, who had convictions for 31 offences, was given a six-month suspended prison sentence and a 16-week 2pm to 6pm curfew.
Parry, who had 32 previous offences, was given a 12-week 2pm to 6pm curfew.
Ayres, formerly of Hawthorne Avenue, Immingham, had no previous convictions. She was given a one-year supervision order, including nine months' alcohol treatment. All three must pay £200 costs.
Recorder Jonathan Bennett told the trio: "It was a particularly mean offence, bearing in mind the fact that he was a neighbour of one of you and a former colleague."