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'Menace to society' freed by Hove court
A JUDGE branded a young criminal a “menace to society” but then spared him jail.
Daniel Hewett burgled a pensioner’s home within weeks of completing a five-year prison term for attacking a foreign student.
Hove Crown Court was told yesterday the 22-year-old had already become institutionalised and finds life behind bars easier than on the outside.
Hewett, of Davigdor Road, Hove, was given two years’ probation and ordered to undergo drug rehabilitation.
He was released from prison in May.
Shortly after midnight on July 7 Hewett climbed through the open ground floor window of a warden-assisted flat in Montpelier Road, Hove.
The man living there, who was in his 70s, had left it ajar for his cat to get in in the night.
When he woke up, he found his 32-inch television and some commemorative cups had been stolen.
A member of the public had spotted two men carrying a television nearby. It was later found abandoned.
Hewett was stopped by a police patrol but was allowed to leave.
His palm-prints were later found at the flat. Police called at his home two days later and found the cups in his airing cupboard.
In 2007, aged 17, Hewett was jailed for his part in a random gang attack on a Czech student near Hove station. The victim’s eyeball was slashed open with a bottle.
Holly Collinge, defending, said he was immature, easily led and had had mental health problems. She said he found it hard being made to live in a hostel, where he was surrounded by drug addicts.
He turns 23 tomorrow (October 27).
She said: “The reality is he has become institutionalised at a young age.
“It is a sad situation where a young man thinks being in custody is easier.”
As part of his community sentence Hewett must report to court every month for six months, for his drug rehabilitation progress to be checked.
The treatment is for problems with cannabis, cocaine and alcohol.
Judge Lawson told him: “If you are not a danger to the public, you are certainly a menace to the public.
“If you want to spend the rest of your life in prison, doing a stretch here and a stretch there, that is your business.
“But not today.
“On your 23rd birthday, you set about a new existence.”
Hewett said only “Cheers” in response to the judge’s remarks.
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