A THIEF with more than 100 crimes to his name said “toodle-oo” as he was taken down to start a six-year prison sentence.
Henry McGrath – who represented himself in court – had denied burglary despite DNA, a footprint, and a travel ticket with his name on being found at the crime scene.
Oxford Crown Court jurors found the 59-year-old unanimously guilty in less than two hours of deliberation yesterday.
And when asked by Judge Ian Pringle if he had anything to say in mitigation before he was sentenced, McGrath said: “Why don’t you just take me out into the courtyard and execute me by firing squad?”
McGrath, of no fixed address, raided Pyrton Heath House near Watlington in January last year – a month after being released from prison for handling stolen goods.
A Toyota, £6,000-worth of garden tools, and a Land Rover car battery were stolen in the break-in at the country estate.
Police found a trace of blood on a window frame matching McGrath’s DNA and an expert said there was a one in a billion chance it did not come from him.
Another expert said a footprint at the scene was likely to have come from size 11 Hush Puppies shoes seized from McGrath when he was arrested in Sandford-on-Thames days later.
McGrath said the DNA could be from one of his two brothers who he claimed borrowed his car at the time of the burglary.
And in his 25-minute closing speech, he told jurors the prosecution had not proved he was guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
But McGrath was found guilty of four burglaries, two thefts, and an attempted theft.
Judge Ian Pringle said McGrath had a “staggering” number of convictions for crimes committed from when he was 12 years old.
The court heard McGrath had 39 convictions and 133 crimes recorded against his name – 77 of which were for theft.
Sentencing, Judge Pringle said: “You have spent almost the entirety of your life committing crime.
“Every time you are released, within a short period of time you commit offences and society is simply not prepared to put up with that.”
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