Serial offender must wait to hear fate

A MAN who stole from a woman with post-traumatic stress disorder and then from a church must stay out of trouble for three months if he is to avoid going to prison.

Eric Dunn, of Ashcombe Road in Weston, appeared at Bristol Crown Court on Friday to be sentenced for the two thefts.

The 46-year-old had previously pleaded guilty to stealing benefits from his ‘virtually housebound friend’ after offering to collect them from the post office for her last summer.

He had offered to pick up the �214 for her because she was suffering from the mental illness following a gas explosion at her home several years ago, but came back and said there was no money in the account.

When the victim investigated what had happened she found he had taken the money out himself and kept it.

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The following week, Dunn entered St Nicholas Church in Uphill and took a charity collection box from the wall.

But he cut his hand and left some blood, so police officers were able to track him down.

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He said that he needed money because he owed a drug debt and that he was remorseful over what he had done.

Bristol Crown Court heard on Friday how Dunn has been in trouble with the police since he was a juvenile, with benefit offences, possession of class A dugs and theft among his convictions.

Her Honour Judge Hagen told him that she was waiting three months before sentencing him for the latest ‘mean-spirited’ offences to see if he can stay out of trouble.

She said: “It is really up to you.

“If you can demonstrate to me you can stay out of trouble I shall impose a community order – if not all options are open.”

Dunn will return to Bristol Crown Court on July 14 for sentence.

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