Thief threw £22,000 of jewellery in the bin

Dundee Sheriff Court. Picture: TSPL

Dundee Sheriff Court. Picture: TSPL

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A THIEF broke into a widower’s house and stole £22,000 of his late wife’s jewellery before throwing the loot in a bin.

Gary Murdoch was yesterday starting a two-year prison sentence over the theft from 67-year-old Peter Clark’s home in Newport, Fife.

If you break into people’s houses.. you will go to prison

Sheriff George Way

Murdoch smashed through the window of a door at the property before rummaging through every room in the house.

He made off with a haul of jewellery, including a £3,000 Rolex watch, a ruby and diamond brooch worth £2,300 and a gold bracelet valued at £3,250.

Murdoch then went to Dundee, where he put the haul in a bag and dumped it in a bin.

The 40-year-old then went to Boots in a bid to shoplift toiletries, but was caught and arrested. The cache of jewellery disappeared. It has never been found.

A sheriff told Murdoch: “If you’d known it’s value, I don’t suppose you’d have been daft enough to leave it.”

Fiscal depute Donna Brown told Dundee Sheriff Court that most of the jewellery belonged to Mr Clark’s deceased wife and had been kept for its “extreme sentimental value”.

She said: “He [Murdoch] was interviewed on 6 May but claimed to have been in police custody at the time and denied being responsible. He was released for lack of evidence but when he was released from prison on 17 April this year police were waiting for him at the gates and he was interviewed again.

“This time he claimed to have been at the Job Centre, but that alibi was proved not to be true.

“The Crown calls on the accused to reveal what he did with the jewellery.”

Murdoch, 40, a prisoner at HMP Glenochil, pleaded guilty on indictment to a charge of theft by housebreaking ­committed on 10 April 2014. David Bell, defending, said: “I don’t think he had any appreciation of the value of the items – monetary or the sentimental value.

“When he got to Dundee, he put them in a black bag in a bin with the intention of collecting them later.

“He then went shoplifting in Boots, was caught and arrested.

“He was remanded in custody the next day and the items in the black bag are long since gone.”

Sheriff George Way said: “I don’t suppose you had any idea how much it was worth – had you done so it’s extremely ­unlikely you would have been daft enough to go and get ­yourself arrested for a minor shoplifting.

“Nevertheless, a widower has lost items which he kept obviously for sentimental value. He kept it because it is part of his life, and part of his wife.

“If you break into people’s houses – our last bastion of real privacy, given we are constantly watched on CCTV and under surveillance – you will go to prison.”

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