Thursday, 16 April 2009

Riled : Sagacity My Love, My Fair One, Where Are You?

As a rule I don't write about the news. This is because the moment I think of the word news my brain is immediately crushed with images of a desultory group of corrupt politicians, drunk nano-celebrities, jobless bankers, bivouacked activists and benefit thieves prancing about to tinny mobile phone music in a terrifying nightmarish eternity. But today I'll break my rule.

As you all know I'm not easily riled, very rarely does anything bother me, unless you count the majority of things my fellow humans do each day, old men jumping the bar queue and claiming they were first, people that dither at ATMs, anyone that has a 24 ring tone, but sometimes things really rile me.

Sonia Crabb (33) and her boyfriend Tony Junge (31), conned farmer David Cooper (51) in despicable fashion. My first assumption is that in order to do this they strapped their moral compasses and consciences to one of North Korea's failed rockets. My second assumption is that they flushed their copy of "How not to ruin someone's God-given life" down the toilet.

Sonia took advantage of Cooper's vulnerability, leading him on romantically with intent to exploit, and soon afterwards Crabb and Junge moved into Cooper's farmhouse, forcing Cooper to live in squalid conditions in a 'disused tack room', whatever that is.

They extracted from him £116,000 pounds in cash, spent £170,000 of his assets, forced him to transfer his house and land into their name, and lived in disgusting luxury while pushing him into a degrading existence.

Cooper died from diabetes, but was so malnourished when he died that he had symptoms of scurvy.

Crabb and Junge have now been jailed. You would think, given the fact that they conned him, fleeced him, forced him to live in degrading conditions and brought about his untimely death, that they would be given strict sentences.

You would think, given the fact that they violated his 'right to life' (article 2 Human Rights Act), subjected him to 'inhuman treatment' (article 3) and essentially 'slavery' (article 4), took away his 'right to liberty' (article 5) and all sorts of 'freedoms', that they would, perhaps, get life sentences. Given the sheer quantity of money they extorted from him you would think that that alone would be enough for some serious jail time.

You would think that any self-respecting judge with even a sub-average IQ, and even on a bad day when there was not enough milk in the fridge for his Cheerios and he had accidentally washed his balding pate with Listerine instead of shampoo, would pass a sentence that put them in for some proper time in the cooler. Right? You would think.

So how much time will this miserable pair of dweebs serve?

Crabb and Junge were jailed for 27 and 24 months respectively. I'll do the maths. That's two years for conning, fleecing and exploiting someone, contributing significantly towards their death and living in unearned luxury while their victim languishes in squalor, eventually dying malnourished and alone.

Does this rile you? I'd probably be sentenced for a longer term if I was caught shoplifting tweezers from Boots.

Knowing our justice system they'll probably be released in under 3 minutes for good behaviour.

[sources The Times, Metro and Daily Mail]

38 comments:

A. K. said...

Love your blog.. Your Lobster incident was awesome!

Nej said...

No friggin' way!?!?!?! Maybe they bought the judge too???

Did the judge give reasoning to justify his stupidity?

Girl Interrupted said...

I'm so with you on this one Mo

The English justice system is totally screwed up and needs to sort it's priorities out a.s.a.p. If they'd robbed one of the big banks they'd be looking at years in double figures.

It should be a life for a life as far as I'm concerned.
That poor man deserves to have his life and his miserable existence valued at way more than a few months.

I loved this post. Bravo!

Mama Dawg said...

Makes me want to vomit up the catfish dinner I had last night.

What the hell is wrong with people these days?

jpooh said...

This is usually the point where I say "Only in America..."

But apparently not.

A tack room, by the by, is usually a small room attached to a livery stable, where the bridles and saddles and whatnot are stored.

I knew reading all of that historical romance crap would pay off one day.

Mary@Holy Mackerel said...

Yeah, that riles me somethin' fierce. There's something wrong with that judge.

Anna Russell said...

Grrrrrrrrr! I remember a few years back, in Scotland (which has a spearate legal system to you guys, but it's still as useless) a judge found a guy guilty of raping a girl who lived in his street and he (wait for it) sent him on a holiday to clear his head! I'm not making this up.
Yet a poor person shoplifts to provide food for their family, and they throw away the key.
Again, grrrrrrrrr!

andy said...

sounds like our justice system...and i work in it. frustrating is an understatement.

i had such an awesome pair of tweezers that i pilfered (stole) from my mum years ago when i left home. my ex-husband thought i would leave them behind. sadly mistaken. they finally (after 25 years) succumbed to my sons overzealous handling. i literally screamed like a cat being thrown into a well. i was so so sad. difficult to find a good pair of tweezers...sigh...i still miss them.

Eric said...

That is so not right and evil. I agree with jpooh that this seems like a crazy 'only in America' justice story.

Tristan Robin Blakeman said...

As an American, I have to admit: this does sound like an 'only in America' story.

Trust me - it disgusts most of us here as much as it does the rest of the world.

rubbish said...

Hi Mo,
Whole country is going down the pan. The judicial system really does beggar belief. I'm guessing because the guy appears to have no family it's a "shit happens" scenario. Judges these days seem to be devoid from the real world. I could go on for about an hour on this subject but I'll play some poker and quietly seethe.
Catch you soon.

Diane said...

That's appalling. Beyond appalling. How many people do you suppose have to get riled before changes are made?

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

That totally sucks ass.

Call Me Cate said...

Wow. The courts aggravate me so much. Punishments never seem to match the crimes.

blognut said...

Why do you think it is, that all of us 'regular Joe' bloggers know that it is appalling and bordering on the ridiculous, yet it continues to be the way 'justice' is done?

Just wondering?

Gwen said...

I don't know enough about your criminal justice system to comment with any confidence. There are a lot of things I would want to know before I passed legal judgment, like: What crimes were they charged with? What's the usual sentence for those crime? Were the prosecutor's hands tied because he couldn't prove Cooper was "forced"?

But within the boundaries of common human decency, yes, those sentences are much too short.

Nikki-ann said...

It doesn't surprise me one little bit... Our justice system is flawed big style!

Captain Dumbass said...

Sounds much like the Canadian legal system. Wait, that was a gift from you. Thanks a lot.

Jason, as himself said...

Holy cow. I hadn't heard about this one. There are soooo many injustices out there.

Mr London Street said...

This is a trickier issue than a knee jerk reaction would suggest. I speak as a law graduate. I agree these sentences sound on the lenient side but I don't know whether that's the judge's fault or the law's fault. How much discretion did he actually have? What was the specific offence? Were there any mitigating factors (because I'm guessing that publications like the Mail are bound to report it omitting any, if there are)?

I am very very uncomfortable about people campaigning against overtly lenient sentences. This one seems a relatively cut and dried one but it's a slippery slope from here to arguments about victims having a bigger say in criminal sentencing and I really have no enthusiasm for that at all. From there you inexorably get drawn into arguments about bringing back capital punishment and then we're in all sorts of mess.

Sorry to be the lone voice of dissent! But it's easy, possibly too easy, to say that this sort of thing is an outrage.

Minka said...

There will always be things as the one you're describing, that make no sense, are absolutely wrong and can make ordinary people go crazy. And sad.

It doesn't mean, though, that you can go on a shoplifting spree now... nope! Sorry!

Kat said...

I knew it was a broken system when I heard that thug Jack Tweed only got a few months for beating someone with a golf club. In America that would be assault with intent to kill and he would be in jail for at least 10 years. Crazyness.

lizspin said...

Did you ever wonder how two people who can themselves "humans" could do a thing like that and sleep at night???

After their release from prison, they should be sentenced to life in the tack room!!!

The Rambler said...

Shaking head in disgust.

Hit 40 said...

I am still mad at the politicians and the bailout. Can not find any room for more anger.

Sassy Britches said...

This is horrific beyond words. Join me in becoming a bivouacked activist about this cause?

The Gnu said...

i always feel that if you take a life, you give your life. not by death though, that would be too easy. mabe put them in one of those old gaols that they give tours in and they have the incredibly scary voice overs and screams. lol, but now that i think about it, a gaol near where i live has been turned into laser force.

the mama bird diaries said...

That is disgusting. How dreadful. Send them over to the US and we'll kick the crap out of them.

San Diego Momma said...

Flogged, tarred, feathered, then put in the same conditions they forced David into.

Assholes.

bernthis said...

sadly, I do believe it. The justice system is a fucking joke. Even in my divorce, I tell people what went on and their mouths hang open

Comedy Goddess said...

You are completely right!

Comedy Goddess said...

You should read a biography of Doris Duke.

Very similar in many ways. I was left feeling helpless and outraged. I hate when that happens.

The Friday Joker said...

As a news addict, I am surprised that I didn't hear about this story.

I should be more shocked at the low sentences but there have been so many sentences which appear ridiculously lenient in recent years that I am, I fear, beginning to get used to the idea that people who commit serious and violent crimes in the UK will receive relatively little punishment for them.

I suspect that part of the problem could be that the lack of prison places is leading to judges not wanting to give long custodial sentences, although, that doesn't explain the cases where people have had the book thrown at them for what appear to be relatively minor infractions. Presumably it depends which judge you get.

The fact that some members of the judicial profession appear to have lost track of the relatively severity of offences (and again, as pointed out, it depends what they were actually charged with) doesn't mean that I advocate elected judges or trial by media (especially not since the McCann case).

The Friday Joker said...

Further to my earlier comment, I believe that there have been cases (albeit only a few) where unduly lenient sentences have been increased by the Court of Appeal, so there may be legal avenues open.

Tooj said...

This is despicable. I would say thanks for sharing, but I wouldn't really mean it. Stories like these I have to avoid in the paper or else I get really, really upset. :(

Maria Roth said...

Karma. These two scumbags will reincarnate as dung beetles, at best.

Stacie's Madness said...

WOW. that doesn't sound right at all!

Amy @ Milk Breath and Margaritas said...

This is outrageous!! Unbelievable. I can't imagine what the judge said to defend this decision.

As I have quite a few new readers since I became a "Jelly Biter" I've put this up here again. To understand the context you must read this post!