Police shock as Jehovah’s Witness hands himself in after burglary committed in a ’stupor”


Babar, 48, had committed the burglary while in a “stupor” after overdosing on newly prescribed sleeping pills which he did not think were working, Gloucester crown court was told. 

Babar, of Regent street, Lydney, Gloucestershire, pleaded guilty to burgling Eric Witheridge”s home, also in Regent street, and stealing jewellery and an iPad on May 18 this year. 

Because of his three past convictions for house burglary he was liable to a “three strikes and you”re out” minimum jail term of three years. 

But after hearing how he had given himself up and returned most of the stolen property Judge Michael Cullum reduced the sentence to sixteen months imprisonment. 

“The burglary was a serious one,” said the judge. “But the way the case comes before the court is unusual. 

“The stolen property is recovered because you walked into the police station to admit your guilt, no doubt not wanting to live with the knowledge that you had committed another burglary after great efforts to change your life for the better.“

Prosecutor Janine Wood said “The circumstances of this offence are very, very unusual. It came to light because Babar walked of his own volition into Coleford police station with a bag of items which he knew were not his. He told the police he thought he had committed an offence. 

“This was on May 24. The burglary had been at about 5pm on May 18 when a stone was used to smash the utility window of Mr and Mrs Witheridge”s home. 

“All the rooms were entered and various items stolen. It is a four-bed end of terrace home in a quiet street. 

“Babar told the police he thought he had committed a burglary after a recent change in his medication. He said he had a recall of a window being smashed. 

“The victim was contacted and shown the bag of items Babar had brought in. He was able to identify them as his.“

In a victim statement Mr Witheridge said the burglary had impacted on him and his wife.

They were shocked and then angry about what happened and suffered anxiety and inconvenience, he stated. 

Babar was interviewed on May 25 and said he had requested a change of medication eight days earlier from his doctor. He said that at first he could remember nothing about the burglary but then had flashbacks about a broken window. 

“He took responsibility and apologised to the victims of his crime,“ stated Mrs Wood. 

Babar had made 20 previous court appearances and had convictions for domestic burglaries in 1999, 2008 and 2010. 

Owen James, defending, said Babar had been a prolific offender in London in his youth and he came from a troubled background which had left him with post traumatic stress disorder. 

He had tried to reform and moved to Lydney to get away from old criminal associates.

Mr James referred the court to psychiatric reports on Babar.

They showed treatment he had been receiving, he said. 

In recent years Babar had joined the Jehovah”s Witnesses in Lydney and an elder of the church was supporting him at court, he said. 

“This is very much a case of a man who is trying to change his life. On this occasion he took a massive overdose of Temazepam and was in some form of drug induced stupor for almost a week, during which this offence occurred. 

“It is to his credit that on realising he had done something wrong he did not seek to hide from it. He could have pawned the stolen goods or got rid of them but he took them to the police and handed himself in. 

“He was no doubt influenced by his new found religious beliefs.

“He told the police “I was thinking about the victims and how upset they would be.”