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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Gambling addict stole Good Samaritan's car

Gambling addict stole Good Samaritan's car

By The Bristol Post | Posted: December 09, 2013
By Tom Morris

A GAMBLING addict, who befriended people before stealing their vehicle to feed his betting addiction, has been jailed. Bristol Crown Court heard that career criminal Barry Lake, 55, was in the grip of his gambling addiction when he took Rachel Berkley's Vauxhall Astra on March 7.

On that day, Lake was picked up from a pub in Easton as a favour. But the mother's kindness was repaid by him then stealing her car.

Lake, of River Street in Bristol city centre, pleaded guilty to theft of a motor vehicle and was jailed for 15 months.

Caighli Taylor, prosecuting, said Ms Berkeley had come to know Lake because he knew her brother.

Ms Taylor said: "After she had picked him up from the pub he asked whether he could borrow the car to return to the pub to pick up his coat. He did return with the keys – but when she left the kitchen he called out to say he was leaving and Ms Berkley then noticed her car was missing and it has not been seen since. He rang her to say he was refuelling at Avonmouth but then ignored the rest of her calls."

Ms Taylor said Lake had numerous previous convictions for offences of dishonesty throughout his criminal career. On two previous occasions he had "borrowed cars" and never returned them. She said that since losing her £600 vehicle, Ms Berkley had not been in a position to replace it.

Robyn Rowlands, mitigating, said Lake had fallen into debt in March because of a business scheme, and things quickly raged out of control. The defence solicitor said: "His difficulties saw his gambling addiction re-ignite and things spiralled out of control to the point where he committed this offence.

"He is someone who wants to move on rather than repeat the errors of his past. A prison sentence would cause him more financial difficulties and could tempt him again to offend. When he falls into difficulties he falls back into previous patterns of behaviour."

Sentencing Lake, Judge Mark Horton told him he was a man who clearly had a "lifelong gambling addiction" which resulted in him committing offences of dishonesty and theft.

The judge said: "It appears you have committed an identical offence on two previous occasions. You took a car from someone who had offered you nothing but assistance and friendship.

"Your selfishness put this woman, a mother with young children, in a position where she could not afford to replace the transport. In every way she has been affected by your dishonesty. I will not allow you to continue going around causing the same sort of damage as you have to this lady."

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