Former Yardley man who emigrated to Australia while awaiting trial handed community sentence 14 years later - The Solihull Observer

Former Yardley man who emigrated to Australia while awaiting trial handed community sentence 14 years later

Solihull Editorial 16th Jul, 2018   0

A YARDLEY man who emigrated to Australia while he was wanted for his part in a night-time burglary was finally arrested when he came back for a surprise birthday party.

More than 14 years after entering his guilty pleas, Lloyde Walmsley, aged 39. appeared at Warwick Crown Court to be sentenced for the burglary and a theft which he had also admitted.

The court was told that even a suspended prison sentence could affect Walmsley being able to go back to Australia, where he has a wife and child and has built up his own business.

Walmsley of Greenleigh Road, Yardley, Birmingham, at the time, was given a 12-month community order, with 200 hours of unpaid work – to be completed before returning to his family.

Prosecutor Ian Windridge said the offences go back to February 2004 when a couple living at a house in Plymouth Road, Redditch, were disturbed by a noise at 2.45 in the morning.

From their window, they could see torchlight in the conservatory below, so banged on the conservatory roof, causing the two intruders to flee with the keys to their £26,000 Audi A3.

As the couple then looked out of the front window they saw the car door being opened and it being driven away behind a BMW in which the burglars had arrived.

The police saw the BMW at the Sainsbury’s island on the outskirts of Redditch, where it was involved in a collision and the two occupants, Walmsley and a man named Nicholls, made off on foot, but were caught.

Mr Windridge said that in May 2004 Walmsley pleaded guilty to the burglary and the theft of the car, but Nicholls denied the charges, so the case was adjourned for his trial.

Nicholls, who had a bad record for burglaries, later changed his plea to guilty and was jailed for four years in December 2004 at a hearing which Walmsley failed to attend, leading to the warrant for his arrest.

Mr Windridge pointed out that in 2006 Walmsley was dealt at Solihull Magistrates Court for a public order offence, at which time the warrant did not come to light.

Anthony Bell, defending, said that the pre-sentence report on Walmsley in 2004 was favourable and had recommended a rehabilitation order.

He added: “But having been to jail once before, albeit five or six years earlier, he was frightened about the possibility of going back, and was not thinking very clearly. Alcohol played a significant part in his life at that time.

“He went home and stayed at home with his mother and carried on working. The knock on the door never came.”

Mr Bell said Walmsley had not fled to Australia to escape the court, but was a bricklayer, and when the recession hit in 2008, he applied for a visa to go there.

He had remained there ever since, getting married and now with a four-year-old child, and building up a business which employs three people.

But he returned earlier this month to attend a surprise birthday for his uncle, and had got arrested at the airport.

Referring to the original pre-sentence report from 2004, Mr Bell commented: “He has achieved what the recommendation in the report set out to achieve, putting his old associates behind him, putting his offending behind him and building a new life.”

Asking the judge to take the ‘unusual course’ of passing a community sentence, he pointed out that Walmsley’s concern was that a custodial sentence, even a suspended one, could result in him not being allowed to return to Australia.

Mr Bell added that Walmsley would remain here it carry out any unpaid work he was ordered to do on an intensive basis of 35 hours a week until the order was completed.

Judge Sylvia de Bertodano told Walmsley: “You came into court today with your bag packed. Had you been here as you should have been in 2004, your life would have been very much easier, and you would have got this behind you.

“No-one suggests you fled to Australia to avoid this, because you were in this country for four years before you went to Australia 10 years ago and started to begin a new life.

“You are a completely different man from the 25-year-old who committed this serious burglary back in 2004, at a time when you went off the rails.”


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