‘Despicable’ burglars lose appeal against jail terms

Steven Abberley and Paul Ansbro SUS-151214-161616001
Steven Abberley and Paul Ansbro SUS-151214-161616001

Two ‘despicable’ burglars, whose victims included an Alzheimer’s patient in West Chiltington, have lost an appeal against their prison sentences.

Steven Robert Abberley, 43, of Dale Drive, Brighton and Paul Ansbro, 55, of Westbourne Gardens, Hove, were told they got the punishments they deserved.

Their burglary spree, from November 2013 to February 2014, spanned five counties and targetted elderly and vulnerable people with collections of antiques.

Abberley and Ansbro were jailed at Lewes Crown Court on December 11 last year. Abberley admitted 12 burglaries and was jailed for nine years.

His son, Mason Abberley, 19, of Ventnor Villas, Hove, got two-and-a-half years after admitting eight raids. He was not involved in last week’s appeal.

Ansbro pleaded guilty to four burglaries, and two counts of handling stolen goods, and got seven-and-a-half years behind bars.

On July 21, London’s Appeal Court heard that antiques worth thousands were stolen from an 84-year-old man with Alzheimer’s disease in West Chiltington.

Mr Justice Openshaw said the victims’ descriptions of their suffering was ‘dignified and poignant’, adding that the ‘invasion’ of their homes had caused them ‘anguish and distress’.

“The aftermath and affect of this offending is as great as we have ever come across in such cases,” he said.

Lawyers for Steven Abberley and Ansbro argued their jail terms were far too tough and said they did not get enough credit for their guilty pleas.

They said Abberley had no previous convictions and had only turned to crime after developing a drug habit following the breakdown of a relationship.

The court was told that Ansbro had one previous conviction for an ‘entirely different matter’. He committed the crimes ‘to feed his gambling habit’.

Mr Justice Openshaw said: “These were truly despicable offences targeting elderly householders, vulnerable on account of their age and condition.

“In each of these incidents valuable antiques were stolen to their great distress.”

He said Abberley’s crimes were made worse by the fact he had got his teenage son involved. He described Ansbro’s jail term as ‘severe’, but said neither man’s sentence was ‘manifestly excessive’.

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