Gambler who sold late dad's stamps is spared prison term.
Byline: Ross McCarthy Court Reporter ross.mccarthy?trinitymirror.com
A MAN sold part of his dead dad's valuable stamp collection for a song at PS13,700 - then fed the cash into a single fruit machine.
Joseph Jennings, from Harborne, stooped to the "mean" crime to fund his gambling addiction, selling part of the collection gathered by his father Peter, a well-known philatelist and press secretary for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham. But at Birmingham Crown Court yesterday, the troubled 29-year-old was spared jail after a judge decided he needed professional help with mental health issues, an obsessive compulsive disorder and gambling addiction. Jennings, who had previously admitted theft, was given a two year community order and must carry out 150 hours unpaid work.
e court heard Jennings, of Bantock Way, sold the collection, which included very rare stamps, after his dad died last September. He received only a fraction of its true worth.
Judge Paul Farrer QC told him: "When your father died he left all of his property to your mother and that included a very valuable stamp collection which the family were plainly proud of.
"ese were mean o"ences committed against your mother in circumstances where you must have known she was relying on those stamps to fund her retirement.
"ere is an obvious breach of trust. is was a persistent o"ence and high value property was stolen."
However, the judge took into account Jenning's mother's wish that he should receive professional help.
Alistair Redford, prosecuting, said: "In September last year Peter Jennings died from a long standing illness. at death understandably hit the defendant and his mother."
Jennings then took it upon himself to start selling his father's collection, but his mother discovered items were missing and confronted him.
He admitted what he had done and voluntarily went to a police station.
When quizzed, he confessed to gambling the money at a branch of Corals as soon as he received it.
Mr Redford added some of the stamps Jennings had sold were extremely rare, but because the theft was discovered quickly 75 per cent of them were recovered.
Iain Suggett, defending, said "My client liked a particular fruit machine - that's where the money went, into one machine."
He added: "His life was in an absolutely dreadful state at that particular time. Every time he took something he felt that he was upsetting his father."
Jennings is now reconciled with his family and was trying to put his life back together.