Hospital order for prolific Fareham criminal who pawned luxury stolen watch

A MAN with a history of violence, arson and burglary stretching back almost 20 years, has been sent to a mental hospital after admitting handling stolen goods worth £8,000.

Saturday, 9th April 2016, 6:06 am

Daniel Thornton pleaded guilty at Portsmouth Crown Court yesterday to handling three items – including a £6,000 Breitling watch.

The 32-year-old was caught out when he took the watch to a pawnbrokers and sold it for £500 in December.

Police were called and raided Thornton’s Owen Close, Fareham, and found a £200 Pandora bracelet and an Apple Mac laptop computer, all of which had been stolen in a burglary the previous month.

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Flanked by two paramedics and a support worker in the dock, Thornton admitted three counts and asked for a further charge to be taken into consideration.

It was revealed Thornton’s long list of convictions include burglary, handling stolen goods, arson, theft and violence, stretching back almost 20 years. The latest offences were committed while he was out on licence for a three-year sentence for handling stolen goods.

The court heard Thornton is currently undergoing intensive treatment for mental health problems, which the court heard have been diagnosed as a mild form of schizophrenia.

Barnaby Shaw, defending, said since Thornton’s arrest he has spent most of his time in hospital.

Mr Shaw urged Judge Roger Hetherington not to send him to prison because he would not get the same treatment.

Judge Hetherington called Thornton’s record ‘appalling’ but agreed he would be better off in hospital than in prison having served the equivalent of a 10-month sentence already. He was detained in hospital under Section 37 of the Mental Health Act.

One of the burglary victims spoke of losing jewellery and a laptop containing the only video of her late husband.

She said: ‘My husband died on Christmas Day and this was very close to Christmas.

‘It’s a bad time of year for us anyway, and it just highlighted the fact that he wasn’t here anymore and everything he’d bought me, jewellery-wise, had gone.

‘Hide your jewellery in strange places. Make sure anything is always backed up on any electronic device.’

She added: ‘The house was locked and secure, but just be very vigilant about what’s on show.’