Leamington woman who had not been in trouble until April of this year went on to burgle several homes in the middle of the night

The court heard that after she lost her job at a care home she turned to drink and taking large amounts of drugs

Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 8:26 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 8:30 pm

A Leamington woman who had not been in trouble until April of this year went on a spree of offending which included burgling a number occupied houses at night.

And jailing Rachel Oldham for 16 months, a judge at Warwick Crown Court told her that her offences ‘individually and collectively’ were too serious for the sentence to be suspended.

Oldham (34) of Fallow Hill, Sydenham, Leamington, had pleaded guilty to six charges of burglary, an attempted burglary, theft and breaching a conditional discharge.

Warwick Crown Court.

Prosecutor Ravi Sidhu said that on April 29 Oldham, who had never been in trouble before, had been given a 12-month conditional discharge for theft.

But before she was dealt with for that matter, she was caught by a CCTV camera as she reached under a Perspex screen of the office at a hostel where she was staying and stole items including a can of lager.

Then in the middle of May, Oldham carried out a series of burglaries at domestic properties in south Leamington.

On May 13 a woman called the police to say that someone was in her back garden and appeared to be on drugs and was threatening to kill herself, but the would-be intruder then got on a bike and cycled away.

Just six minutes later someone else called the police to report someone acting suspiciously at the rear of two addresses in Leam Terrace, said Mr Sidhu.

The description fitted Oldham, who was found in nearby Mill Street, but ran off before she could be arrested.

The occupier of a flat at one of the addresses then found a window had been smashed and property including a Nikon camera had been stolen.

And when Oldham was caught shortly afterwards she had the camera and other items in her rucksack, but claimed they were hers and that she was on her way to sell them.

A woman in a neighbouring flat had reported that she had been working at home when she saw a female with a rucksack trying to gain entry before leaving.

Investigations linked Oldham to other offences, including an attempted burglary at a house in Radford Road in the early hours of May 12 when she had tried the doorbell before trying to gain entry.

The same morning she had burgled a house in Rowley Road, getting in through an open conservatory window before taking a phone, a wallet and a bottle of rum.

She also got into a house in Fallow Hill and stole cigarettes and a car key, and an address in Radford Road from where she took items including jumpers and a coat.

And a woman was at home in Freshwater Road when she heard the rear gate open and saw a woman’s foot come in through the patio door – but the intruder fled when she shouted out.

When Oldham was asked about the offences following her arrest, she admitted: “That’s all true,” adding that she was sorry and had done it to raise money for food and drugs.

Dean Easthope, defending, said the offences were not sophisticated and Oldham, a mother-of-three with no convictions prior to April 28, made no attempt to disguise herself.

She had always been in gainful employment, most recently at a care home for six years until she lost that job in May, which led to her getting drunk or taking larger amounts of drugs.

He described Oldham as having been ‘a high-functioning addict,’ spending £20 a month on prescription drugs, beginning with codeine and moving on to morphine.

“That supply dried up, and she took the stupid decision to get heroin on the street, and before she knew it she was spending £60 a day on it.”

She tried to address her problem with the Community Drug Team and was put on Methadone, but could not hide her addiction, and, with her mother caring for the children, decided to move out and unwisely began living at the home of a drug addict.

Oldham carried out her spree of offending, grabbing what she could, to support her habit, said Mr Easthope, who urged the judge to pass a suspended sentence so she could get help.

But jailing Oldham, Recorder Eugene Egan told her: “The offences, individually and collectively, are so serious that they cross the custody threshold.

"Even taking account of all the factors in your favour, nothing short of an immediate sentence can be imposed.”