Jail for soldier who burgled while AWOL

Tuesday 08 January 2013 Updated: 11/01 08:16

A SOLDIER who broke into a Leamington couple’s house while he was home on leave and later went AWOL and failed to turn up at court has been jailed.

A warrant had been issued for Lars Gerard’s arrest when he failed to attend for a plea and case management hearing at Warwick Crown Court in October.

And following his arrest Gerard, who the court heard was also absent without leave from the Army, pleaded guilty to the burglary.

Gerard, 19, of Styles Close, Leamington, was jailed for nine months – with a consecutive one-month sentence for failing to surrender to his bail, which he also admitted.

Prosecutor Nigel Wilkins said Gerard broke into the house next-door to his father’s home in Styles Close.

He got in through a downstairs window - inadvertently left open the previous night - and took a Playstation games console, and some change and two bank cards from a purse.

And when a police scenes of crime officer attended he found Gerard’s fingerprints.

As a result Gerard, who had been home on leave from the Army at the time and staying at his father’s address, was arrested.

Gary Cook, defending, said Gerard had become increasingly depressed as a result of family-related stress and losing colleagues on duty in Afghanistan.

He pointed out that although the rest of his unit served in Afghanistan, Gerard had not been deployed on active service because he was ‘showing signs of depression.’

Mr Cook said Gerard had been remanded in custody since his arrest on the warrant in October, which was his first experience of custody, and he was also ‘in difficulties' with his regiment as a result of his crime.

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