A TEENAGER who hurdled five fences as he chased a burglar out of his house has expressed his annoyance after the serial thief avoided jail.
Seventeen-year-old Luke Franklin returned home from college one afternoon last month to find his mum confronting Peter Gaughan at their home in Kennington Road, Kennington.
The 25-year-old intruder had taken the keys to Luke’s Honda Civic and had left it running in the drive stuffed with the family’s 42in television, a new laptop and eight-month-old miniature poodle Mitzy.
Luke, a keen runner and footballer, gave chase over fences and through brambles before Gaughan, of Herschel Crescent, Littlemore, jumped on to railway tracks behind the house.
Moments later, and having heard about the incident on his radio, Pcso Stephen Hall, who was cycling by the River Thames at Sandford, spotted the burglar stripped to the waist lying on the riverbank.
Gaughan made an attempt to swim to freedom, but was caught and arrested.
He was sentenced at Oxford Crown Court on Monday, having earlier admitted one charge of burglary and an attempted burglary on the same day in Upper Road, Kennington.
Judge Anthony King gave Gaughan, whose previous convictions include 20 theft offences since 2000, an 11-month jail term, suspended for two years.
He was also ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work, take part in a restorative justice programme and be under supervision for 12 months. Speaking after the sentence, Luke Franklin said: “I am a bit annoyed about it, to be honest.
“I am doing public service at college so we’ve learned about the crown court and sentences.
“I have seen some sentences for robbery of three or four years, so I thought he would get more than 11 months suspended.”
Following Gaughan’s arrest police managed to rescue some of the Franklins’ stolen items from the river, including two old mobile phones and collection of coins.
However, an Armani watch and two month-old mobile phones have never been returned.
Luke said officers had informed him of Gaughan’s obligation to meet the family as part of a restorative justice programme, but his parents would have to decide whether to agree to it.
He added: “Overall, I am annoyed about the time he has been given, but on the positive side if he does not learn from this and reoffends then it will be a lot more serious.”
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