Man blamed bridge fall for PC theft

A THIEF told a court he stole his cousin’s laptop computer because of an injury he was left with when he fell from a railway bridge.

Michael Paul Archibald hurt his leg when he fell from the Hartlepool bridge onto the railway track.

He contacted the emergency services from his mobile phone to be rescued and to halt any oncoming trains.

The 28-year-old’s leg was in plaster for almost five weeks following the fall and he claims he could not meet appointments with drug and benefits agencies.

He then stole the laptop which belonged to his cousin, Carly Wilmott, and sold it to a neighbour for £20.

Prosecuting, Lynne Dalton told Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court: “Carly Wilmott lives with the defendant and his mother in Richardson Street. She bought the laptop a year ago and one day when she went to look for it she couldn’t find it.

“The defendant said he didn’t know where it was and said somebody else had taken it and urged her not to go to the police because he couldn’t give names.

“He later went to the home address of a Mr Docherty who also lives in Richardson Street. He was offered the laptop for sale and told him that it did belong to Carly, but she’d bought a new one.

“Mr Docherty paid £20 for it and it was later identified by Carly that it belonged to her.”

Archibald, of Richardson Street, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to committing theft on June 22.

Barry Gray, mitigating, said: “Seven weeks ago he fell off a bridge in Hartlepool and fell onto a railway line and did damage to his leg. Luckily he had a telephone with him and he was able to phone the emergency services and an oncoming train was able to stop while he was taken off to hospital.

“While he was in hospital and for the four or five weeks his leg was in plaster he missed appointments with the two main agencies in his life, the drugs and benefits agencies.

“He had no money and took his cousin’s old computer and sold it.”

Chairman of the magistrates’ bench Neil Page sentenced Archibald to a four week curfew from 7pm to 7am, fined him £40 and ordered him to pay £20 compensation to Mr Docherty who was left out of pocket.