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Burglar spared prison so he can go to drug rehab


Oct 13, 2022

A burglar was caught on camera breaking into a Botley Road home.

But Alan Goodman was spared the three-year minimum sentence usually handed to ‘third strike’ house breakers after a judge heard the 39-year-old had been accepted onto a trailblazing rehab scheme for drug-addicted repeat offenders.

Since being remanded into custody before the summer, he had managed to get completely clean both of illegal drugs and opioid substitute methadone.

“Getting to this stage on that programme cannot have been easy for you,” Judge Nigel Daly told Goodman, who had admitted burglary at an earlier hearing, at Oxford Crown Court on Wednesday.

“You have now not only turned your back on class A drugs, but you have gradually weaned yourself of methadone and you are now completely clean.

“You have worked very hard at this and you should be proud of yourself for getting to this point.”

Imposing a two year community order that will see Goodman spend at least the next 12 weeks at a residential rehab in the north west, Judge Daly added: “I hope this is the start of a new era.”

Earlier, the court heard that the defendant was caught on CCTV scoping out a house on the Botley Road overnight between June 1 and 2 last year.

The homeowners woke up to find that a rucksack and handbag left by the front door the previous evening had disappeared. The contents of the bags – including a laptop – were gone.

When they checked CCTV, Goodman could be seen approaching the front door, disappearing out of shot then later appearing in the back garden.

Julian Lynch, prosecuting, said the defendant had 39 previous convictions for 86 offences. He was a ‘third strike’ house burglar, meaning he would ordinarily receive a mandatory minimum sentence of at least three years. His last sentence for burglary, imposed at Oxford Crown Court in 2015, was a four-and-a-half year jail term.

However, prolific thief Goodman had been assessed as suitable for the Oxford Rehabilitation Project, a partnership between HMP Bullingdon, Oxford Crown Court and addiction charity Turning Point. It sees those whose offending is linked to drugs offered residential rehab places instead of lengthy prison sentences.

His barrister, Christopher Pembridge, told the judge that police officers were waiting to take his client to a rehab facility following the hearing. Goodman did not want to return to Oxford, the court was told.

Judge Daly agreed to impose the drug rehabilitation order. “It’s the drug habit that is behind this offending. It’s probably also responsible in part for your homelessness,” he added.

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This story was written by Tom Seaward. He joined the team in 2021 as Oxfordshire's court and crime reporter.

To get in touch with him email: Tom.Seaward@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @t_seaward