A heartless son stole his mother’s wedding rings from her finger as she slept and then pawned them to make money.
Former alcoholic David Collins, 28, was jailed for two years and five months by a judge who told him his actions were ‘very, very mean’.
Heartless: David Collins stole three rings from his mother as she slept
The same judge had previously praised the young man for trying to turn around his life after becoming addicted to alcohol.
It also emerged that on a separate occasion Collins had spat in his mother’s face and called her a ‘slut’, and had also beaten a man with a chair leg.
A court heard that he broke into his parents’ house in Cheltenham on June 24 this year and prised the three rings from his mother’s wedding ring finger while she slept.
Lisa Hennessy, prosecuting at Gloucester Crown Court, said Collins, who has a criminal record for committing previous burglaries, was banned from even going to his parents’ house by court injunction.
But that night, he waited until his mother Rena went to bed and broke into the house. His father, Ralph, later heard a bump from the bedroom and went to investigate.
He found his son standing over the sleeping figure of his wife.
Collins opened his hand to reveal he was holding the three wedding rings she wore on the same finger.
Mrs Hennessy said Mr Collins then took the rings from his son and put them on the bedside table.
But the next morning they were gone and the family, guessing what Collins had done, went to the Gold Shop in Coronation Square, Cheltenham, and found he had sold them for £65.
They were able to retrieve the rings, which are presumed to be an engagement ring, wedding ring and eternity ring.
Ruth Armstrong, defending Collins, conceded that there had to be a jail term because her client is a ‘third strike’ burglar with previous convictions which demand a minimum three-year sentence, less a discount for pleading guilty.
Jailing Collins for 876 days, Judge Jamie Tabor, QC, told him: ‘I am not going to lecture you. It is not going to help.
‘What drove you to commit this offence I don’t know. It was very, very mean, as you know. But I am not going to rub it in.
Trial: Gloucester Crown Court heard that Collins had been banned from even going to his parents' house by an injunction
‘You have at least pleaded guilty, which I suspect was a difficult thing for you to do.
‘I hope that while you are in prison you can sort yourself out and repair your relationships with your family.’ The same judge had previously told Collins: ‘You’re capable of leading a decent life – just keep off the drink.’
In 2006, Collins was given a nine-month prison sentence suspended for two years after pleading guilty to actual bodily harm by hitting a man with a chair leg in October 2005.
When his mother tried to intervene, he spat in her face and called her a ‘slut’. He pleaded guilty to affray and was banned from pubs and clubs for a year.
Collins also has previous convictions for burglary and for cannabis possession, and stealing his father’s courtesy car and crashing it while checking for text messages on his phone in 2001.
At his parents’ modest bungalow on the outskirts of Cheltenham, his father last night indicated that there was no immediate prospect of a reconciliation with his wayward son.
‘I won’t be going to visit him (in jail),’ he said.
Mr Collins declined to say who had reported the theft of the rings. ‘That is our business,’ he said.
A relative who later visited the house said that Collins’s parents did not wish to comment on the case.
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