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Kidderminster man jailed after stealing from parents' home
8:17am Monday 20th August 2012 in Kidderminster
A KIDDERMINSTER son who stole sentimental jewellery and other valuables worth over £20,000 from his parents' home has been jailed for 18 months at Worcester Crown Court .
Matthew Homer, who was studying psychology at university, sold most of the haul in exchange for cash to buy heroin.
He was caught after his mother was shopping in Kidderminster and saw one of her necklaces displayed in a jeweller's shop window. The valuables, stolen from a safe, included a wedding ring belonging to a great-grandfather, solid gold chains, antique coin sets, the mother's wedding ring and gold sovereigns, said Charles Hardy, prosecuting.
In a letter to the court, the defendant's mother Elaine Homer said the family was "devastated" by her son's "callous and self-centred actions" in stealing valuables handed down over generations.
Homer, 29, of Stourport Road, Kidderminster, pleaded guilty to theft and seven counts of fraud. Judge John Cavell told him: "You stole from your family on a very large scale items which were of great sentimental value. Your family will never get over this."
He said the family - who ran a haulage business - had tried to help him quit drugs and he had enjoyed many advantages that others in the grip of a similar addiction had not been fortunate enough to have.
The jewellery went missing after Homer suddenly left home in May this year without explanation, said Mr Hardy. The haul was sold to jewellers, an antiques store and a cash converters shop. Only valuables worth £2,890 were recovered by police.
Homer, who had 57 previous convictions since 2004 - mostly for shoplifting - got hooked on heroin at 14 but kicked the habit for six months and began a university course, said his barrister Tim Talbot-Webb.
He also started training as a counsellor to help other addicts but then met a woman who was a heroin user and fell to drug temptation once again.
The drugs caused blood clots in his legs and he nearly died. He was forced to leave his university course, underwent rehabilitation treatment but continued on heroin.
Mr Talbot-Webb added: "This is the lowest point he has ever reached in his life. He deeply regrets what he did. His family have cut him off, although his sister still supports him."