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You're a parasite; Judge condemns estate's `hard-core of useless people who are a drain on society'.

Byline: Elwyn Roberts

A CROWN court judge yesterday blasted a group of ``useless parasites'' living on a North Wales housing estate. Judge Huw Daniel made his remarks as he sentenced a Wrexham man to three years jail for carrying out eight house burglaries in the town. Mold Crown Court was told yesterday that burglar Angel Groom had been released from prison and for a period stayed away from drugs. But he returned to drugs, lost his accommodation and moved into a house on the Queen's Park Estate, Wrexham. Judge Daniel said the estate was very much like Blacon, in Chester. ``There are many, many decent people living in Queen's Park.

``But there is a hard-core of useless people who are a drain on society, parasites,'' he said. Judge Daniel told Groom, 30, who had been living at Bryn Hafod, Wrexham, he would have to serve three years and an additional 490 days from his previous sentence because he was on early release licence at the time. Groom admitted four house burglaries and asked for a further four burglaries and one theft to be taken into consideration.

The court heard how Groom admitted one burglary and then voluntarily took police on a tour of houses in the town which he had burgled previously. The judge also took a swipe at the Crown Prosecution Service for failing to get statements from complainants about the effect of the burglaries upon them and to give information about the jewellery stolen in one of the burglaries. He said he did not know the value of the jewellery or whether it was of great sentimental value to its owners or not.

Judge Daniel said he found it staggering that the necessary information was not available to him. Sentencing Groom, who had previously served long jail sentences for burglary, Judge Daniel said: ``You know from your own experiences how seriously the courts regard burglary. ``Now I have no doubt at all that you committed house burglary because of your addiction to heroin. ``I don't suppose the house holders whose homes you violated would think much of that as an excuse for not going to prison. ``I don't think very much of it as an excuse either. It has to be prison. I would not be doing my public duty if I did not. The question is for how long?'' The judge added that he hoped Groom would be able to stay away from drugs. ``I wish you luck. ``I think that if you could get off drugs you could be quite a useful member of our society. That remains to be seen.'' The judge said however that he had no confidence that the defendant could survive a drug treatment and testing order as suggested by the defence. Matthew Dunford, defending, said that the Court of Appeal had stressed how important it was to try and break the drug cycle in the sentencing process and one way to do that would be with a drug treatment and testing order within the community, he said. The judge said that by doing that he would be exposing the public to the very high risk of re-offending of the defendant.

``I would have to take the chance that he might be able to limit his addiction. He never has before. He is reaching the level of a prolific offender.''
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jan 10, 2003
Words:558
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