Professional house burglar jailed for over 12 years for string of high-value break-ins
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A professional burglar who stole heirloom jewellery and watches from a couple near Thrapston has been jailed for a total of 12 and a half years.
On January 6, 2019, Peter O’Halloran, aged 49, broke into the couple’s home while they were away, avoiding security systems to spend hours inside before stealing items including the wife’s wedding band, family jewellery and a number of the husband’s designer watches.
The couple were hugely affected by the loss of items that had been in their families for generations, and although Northamptonshire Police made extensive enquiries including repeat public appeals, officers were unable to identify the man, who had been caught on CCTV at the property.
Tragically a few months after the burglary the husband died suddenly, devastating his family and prompting his grieving widow to offer a £10,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the burglar, in hope of recovering some of the jewellery her late husband had given her.
Despite the reward and a national appeal on the BBC’s Crimewatch Live, all lines of enquiry were exhausted without a result, until earlier this year when a link was made between the Northamptonshire burglary investigation and an arrest made across the border by neighbouring Cambridgeshire Constabulary.
Investigating officer Detective Sergeant Karl Curtis, of the Northamptonshire Police Burglary Team, was contacted by colleagues in Cambridgeshire and immediately recognised the pattern of offending, with a subsequent positive identification leading to O’Halloran being charged.
On Friday, November 17, O’Halloran appeared at Cambridge Crown Court for sentencing after pleading guilty to the Northamptonshire burglary, two other high-value burglaries in Cambridgeshire and Norfolk, and one offence relating to the Proceeds of Crime Act.
O’Halloran, of Gardeners Road, Debenham, Stowmarket, Suffolk, who is also known as Peter Sonny Martin Noon, was sentenced to six years for the Thrapston burglary, as part of a total sentence of 12 and a half years.
He had also asked for nine further burglaries across five counties to be taken into consideration, including two in Northamptonshire, one of which saw him steal a designer Omega Speedmaster watch which he kept and wore.
Following the court hearing, DS Curtis said: “The emotional impact of O’Halloran’s actions on his victims cannot be overestimated. He didn’t just invade their home and steal expensive jewellery, he sullied the memories attached to each item and prevented this family from being able to hand down hugely sentimental pieces to the next generation, a fact made even sadder by the subsequent loss of their much-loved husband and father.
“O’Halloran is a professional high-value burglar who carefully surveyed his target and took pains to avoid detection. Happily now justice has caught up with him, and although it’s disappointing it was not possible to recover much of what he stole, I hope the fact he has been brought to book brings some comfort and closure to our victim.”
A further court hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act is scheduled to take place on April 5, 2024.
Peter O'Halloran - courtesy of Cambridge Constabulary.