On the train to work this morning my attention was drawn to P33 of today's Metro newspaper and this headline:'Shoplifter blames his 502 crimes on a brain injury.' I read on,
'A prolific shoplifter was spared jailed for his 502nd offence after a court heard a brain injury caused his condition.
Harry Hankinson began his crime spree in 1970 when his personality changed permanently after falling out of a window, his lawyer said.
Hankinson, 64, went on to commit offences including violence and sex crimes, as well as stealing from shops.
He was given a four-month suspended sentence after admitting his latest spree. It included the theft of £203 of clothes, perfume worth £295 and £350 of toiletries from stores such as Debenhams, Boots and The Body Shop.
Stephen Teasdale, defending, said the accident ‘caused a compulsive behaviour to shoplifting’.
He added: ‘There is no planning – he gets caught. There is no sophistication about this. He goes in, picks up a few items and then walks out.
‘It is the persistence that makes his position far worse.’
Hankinson, from Bolton, said he was ashamed of his actions.
Nat Ayisi-Biney, at Bolton magistrates’ court, told him: ‘It is up to you now because we want to help you to come out of that.’
An interesting case and one which I'm sure we all recognise that there but for the grace of God, go I. The 'change of personality' being something the majority of us will know about - what we were before having gone forever.
My TBI was in 1967 and there is just one year between Mr Hankinson and I; when we had our TBIs you had the op, you either recovered or not. The back up, of any kind, was non-existent except for a raft of pills you were meant to take and which affected you badly. In a later conversation with a retired neurosurgeon he described the surgery of the time as 'more butchery, less science..' We had no back up and now this poor bloke has a polixce record.
That Mr Hankinson has been shown as having commited violent and sex crimes is no surprise to me; in recovery I too struggled with my reactions towards others, sometimes violent when I felt aggrieved and sometimes, when in female company I reacted badly because I misconstrued why a woman would wish to speak to me. Mr Hankinson needs the right help; I hope he gets it and responds well, but 42 years is a long gap. I really feel for this bloke to be honest.