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Burglar could make face-to-face apology to traumatised victims.

Byline: Liz Keen Reporter

A BURGLAR and thief whose victims included a man who was terminally ill and a terrified 11-year-old child may meet those he has left traumatised under a new system for restorative justice.

Craig Dibble, 28, was jailed for almost seven years yesterday for what a judge said had been a campaign of offending against families.

His victims have asked to meet up to question his motives under a new restorative justice scheme being piloted in South Wales.

The child had woken to find him in her bedroom, pretended to be asleep and then used her mobile to contact her grandparents in the next room as she saw him making his way to their door.

The dying man had been forced to catch two buses to a vital hospital appointment after Dibble stole his number plates to put on a stolen car.

He admitted four burglaries, two thefts of number plates, stealing a car and taking another without consent, stealing a jacket from a city centre department store, which police later saw him wearing and driving while disquali-fied.

Dibble was jailed for a total of six years and eight months at Cardiff Crown Court where a letter he had written to one devastated victim was also read out.

Judge Stephen Hopkins QC said the woman was living with the fear that she and her husband who is confined to a wheelchair had been deliberately targeted after leaving their home having been watched and their movements noted.

She asked to meet the man who changed their lives, under the Restorative Justice Pathfinder Project, being piloted in 10 areas of England and Wales including Cardiff - with the capital this week becoming the first city to go live with the scheme.

Dibble declined an immediate face-to-face meeting but in a letter read out in court, he wrote: "I have never thought of meeting victims and it scares me although when I have been sentenced and got my head around what I have done I would definitely meet as I would like to be able to answer your questions and apologise."

Judge Hopkins told him: "You left them devastated and turned their lives upside down.

"You have told her in the letter that it was unplanned and one hopes that will help put her mind at rest."

Jailing him, Judge Hopkins said the victim impact statements submitted to the court showed all too clearly the emotional and psychological consequences of offending - even small crimes like number plate thefts having major impact.

The dying man had his remaining days blighted, the child and her grandparents were so traumatised and petrified, they were seeking family counselling, a couple were taking two years to pay for replacement wedding and engagement rings bought on hire purchase, another couple were left without their stolen goods when their insurance failed to pay out because they had left a small window open and a man of 77 had woken to see Dibble's arm coming in through his bedroom window.

He said it was of significance and worrying that when police saw him in the stolen Howells jacket acting suspiciously outside a house in Caerphilly Road, he had a scream mask in the pocket.

The court heard his record of 53 previous offences included robbery, grievous bodily harm and possessing class A drug as well as 12 house burglaries, the first when he was just 14 years old.

He also asked for two other house burglaries and a burglary at a newsagent to be taken into account.

On his behalf it was said he had finally realised the impact his behaviour was having on people and knew it was his responsibility to meet his victims if they requested it.

Police looking for Dibble of Cornwall Road, Barry following the campaign of offending arrested him after following his girlfriend's car hoping she would lead them to him.

They found him in a stolen VW Golf fitted with false number plates.

'I NO LONGER FEEL SAFE IN MY OWN HOME' In statements Dibble's victims detailed the damage he had done to their lives.

One family were unable to claim 'a single penny' from their insurers because they had left a window open and new locks alone cost them almost PS200.

The wife said it would take them two years to pay for replacement wedding rings they had bought from a catalogue.

"But they will never be the same as the ones I had for 31 years and which I only removed at night because of athritis.

"I no longer feel safe in my own home."

A man struggling with a terminal illness who had his car number plates taken wrote: "It caused me four days of inconvenience and stress. I am unsteady on my feet because of my illness and fearful of being out and about except in my car but had to catch two buses to hospital.

"I feel safe in my car and the thief took my independence away from me and it really touched me deeply".

The grandmother, who also lost her wedding and engagement rings said she was saddened her granddaughter was too afraid to stay over for some time and even when she returned, would not sleep in the room which had been hers.

"I can't go to sleep", she wrote "I keep checking no one is in the house.

"When I wake I think I see a figure - I still have the image in my mind. It has been deeply upsetting and we are considering family counselling."

TRAIL OF OFFENDING Craig Dibble had been freed from a previous jail sentence for burglary only a matter weeks before he burgled a house at St Fagan's Avenue, Barry overnight on October 16/17. The owners were asleep as money, their keys and their car were taken.

Two days later on October 18 he stole a car and took the jacket from Howells, escaping in the Ka car, throwing a store detective to the ground as he tried to stop him.

On October 19 wheel trims were stolen and a house in Barry burgled. A husband and wife woke next morning to find money, jewellery, a laptop and their Suzuki fourwheel drive missing and footprint left behind.

The same day, at Churchfield Road, Barry a pensioner aged 77 who had left open a small window for fresh air opened his eyes in bed to see Dibble reaching in and attempting to open a larger window. The victim bravely made a grab for the arm then gave chase across a neighbour's garden.

At 7.30am the same morning the 11-yearold child woke in her grandparents' home to see Dibble, dressed all in black, standing by her bed. She was said to have had the presence of mind, although terrified, to pretend to still be asleep, calling on her phone as he walked to another room. A large amount of property was stolen.

On November 13 he was arrested in a stolen car after police followed his girlfriend hoping she would lead them to him.


Dibble was jailed for a total |of six years and eight months at Cardiff Crown Court
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jan 22, 2014
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