Sutton car thief “went for jog” halfway through court appearance

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A Sutton man who failed to turn up to trial for stealing a car “went for a jog” halfway through his next appearance in court and was sentenced to prison in his absence.

Jamie Cooke stole a Skoda Octavia off the drive of an address on Coronation Street, where it was parked with the engine running, at 6am, on January 20.

“An officer arrested Mr Cooke driving that vehicle,” said prosecutor Robert Carr, adding that Mr Cooke’s passenger claimed they had just bought the car.

But when they inspected Cooke’s phone, they found messages and pictures of the vehicle.

The court heard that an 80-year-old Sutton woman was attacked and threatened with violence when a man stole her Toyota Yaris, on January 27.

“She fell over and had to roll out of the way of the vehicle when it was driven off,” Mr Carr said.

He said Cooke was found with the key of that car some days later at his home, not far from where the Toyota was recovered, needing £350 of repairs.

He was last in court in December, last year, for possession of drugs and breach of a conditional discharge. His last appearance for dishonesty was in 2009.

Chris Perry, mitigating, said Cooke pleaded guilty to receiving the Toyota. He was caught driving the Skoda and failed to show up for a trial, but was convicted in his absence.

He said that Cooke had been released from prison on June 15, and had been keeping probation appointments.

Cooke, 32, of Sutton Road, admitted theft, receiving stolen goods, and failing to attend court, when he appeared at Mansfield Magistrates Court, on Wednesday.

But he walked out of the court and failed to return, during a break.

District judge Jonathan Taaffe said: “It would seem that Mr Cooke has gone for a jog, and put his fitness before the court.”

He handed Cooke ten weeks for the theft in January, and 16 weeks for receiving stolen goods, which he said was the more serious charge as it was linked to a “serious assault on a vulnerable victim.”

He also gave Cooke two weeks in custody for the Bail Act offence, and ordered him to pay a government surcharge of £115.