On the 14th of December, 2004, two weeks after Peters son was born, Peter appeared at The Old Baily for sentencing. The prosecutor, Nigel Smithers, spoke to judge Randel to outline details of the case.
“Your honour, Peter Philips, 23 years old, of Garrett Lane, Wandsworth, South West London, committed an aggravated burglary at approximately 4 A.M, at Welbeck Road, Richmond, Surrey.
“During the burglary the home owners were woken up, and Peter Philips co-defendant threatened to kill two teenage girls, if their parents didn’t open the safe. The two defendants then fled from the premises with eight hundred pounds in cash and forty-thousand pounds worth of jewellery, and before they left they locked the four family members in a bathroom.”
Judge Randel looked sternly at the prosecutor and asked, “Does the defendant have any previous convictions?”
The prosecutor Nigel then said, “Your honour, the defendant has convictions going back to the age of thirteen. He first appeared in juvenile court for shoplifting. At the age of fourteen he was sentenced to three months detention centre for stealing cars.
“At the age of fifteen he was sentenced to nine months for burglary. He was later sentenced to a year for burglary, then a sentence of eighteen months, and the last sentence he received was two years, again for burglary, and also possession of cannabis. And he’d only been released for nine months when he was arrested for the crime he’s in court for today.”
“Thank you Mr Smithers,” Said Judge Randel, then he looked at Peter’s barrister Roger King and said, “Mr King, what are your clients mitigation circumstances?”
“Your honour,” Said Roger, “My client came out of jail over a year ago, and determined to go straight he’d enrolled on a film production course at college and had been doing well, then his old friend William asked him to commit a crime with him, and they’d done an aggravated burglary together, which my client is in court for today.”
“Where is the friend today?” Judge Randel asked looking slightly confused.
Roger then said, “Both defendants were sharing a cell together in police custody, when the co-defendant William escaped.”
The judge raised his eyebrows and Roger continued, “My client Peter could have escaped with him, but he didn’t want to go on the run and just wanted to face up to his actions.”
Roger continued, “A magistrate then gave Peter bail and he’d been at the birth of his son two weeks previously and since he’d been on bail he continued studying at the film production course at college.”
Roger then continued, “I’d now like to call Peters college tutor Paul Mann as a character witness for my client.”
Roger looked at Paul as he got into the witness box, then said to him, “Paul, you are currently my clients tutor at South Thames College, could you please describe Peter to the court.”
Paul coughed slightly to clear his throat, then said, “Peter is a very good and highly likeable character. Its no exaggeration to say that he is my favourite student…He is also extremely talented, and has so far had an essay and some of his video work marked with distinctions.
“If Peter went to jail today it would seriously delay his progress, and if Peter is able to complete his two year HNC course, he aims to go on to university or film school to study filmmaking at degree level.”
There was a moments silence in the court then Roger said, “Thank you Paul.”
The judge then looked at Paul and said, “Thank you Mr Mann. You may now leave the witness box.”
Paul looked across the court to Peter in the dock and winked at Peter and Peter smiled slightly.
Moments later Roger said, “Your honour I’ll continue my clients mitigation circumstances. As I mentioned before, one of the most significant events in my clients life happened two weeks ago. He became a father and had seen his son being born. If Peter was to go to prison today, he would miss out on an important part of his child’s development and his common law wife would be under enormous pressure bringing up their child alone.”
Roger then concluded, “Therefore your honour I ask that you give my client a suspended sentence, or if you do send him to jail today, I ask that you make the sentence as lenient as you feel you can be under the circumstances.”
After a pause the judge looked at Peter sternly and said, “Peter Philips you stand before me today for committing a serious crime. You have been a habitual criminal for many years. Usually for a case like this I’d give you a sentence of five years…However, you appear to have redeemed yourself. I’m impressed that you never escaped from custody when you had the chance to. And you’ve also become a father, and you seem to be taking parenthood responsibly.
“From what your college tutor said, it also appears that you are becoming a very talented filmmaker. And this shows that there is hope for you and your future…Who knows. Maybe you’ll be the next Ken Loach or Guy Ritchie.”
Peter suddenly smiled slightly, as did other people in the court.
The judge continued, “I’m going to give you a chance young man…The sentence I’m giving you is three years, suspended for two years. That means that you are free to go today, and if you keep out of trouble for two years the sentence will be quashed…However, if you get arrested for anything else, you will serve the three year sentence, plus be sentenced for the additional crime…Do you understand?”
“Yes your honour,” Peter said over the moon, “I won’t let you down judge.”
The judge slightly smiled, “Good…I hope that’s true young man.”
Peter then looked up at Kerry in the public gallery, sitting with his mum. Both of them were grinning with happiness.
It was just after three’o’clock in the morning when Will climbed on to the scaffolding around a block of luxury flats in Knightsbridge, London.
The block of flats were six stories high, and Will climbed up ladders in the scaffolding to reach the top floor. He knew that the penthouse apartments were usually the most expensive properties. Most of the bedrooms in the flats had their curtains closed, but Will found one with the curtains open, and one of the little double glazed windows was open in the top of the window.
Will peered through the window but couldn’t make out much in the darkness. He couldn’t see clearly the elderly sleeping couple in bed. But Lady Howesworth, an ex politician was unable to sleep, and seeing Will suddenly appear outside her window on the scaffolding made her freeze with terror.
Will put his arm through the little window to try to open the handle of the larger window below it, but it had a window lock. As Lady Howesworth watched this she wanted to scream but was paralysed with fear. Moments later Will pulled his arm back out and frustrated made his way up on to the roof to give himself time to think.
Lady Howesworth then shook her husband Cecil awake, and feeling groggy from sleep he asked, “What is the matter?”
“There’s an intruder on the scaffolding. He just put his arm through our open window and tried to break in.”
Cecil sat up more and rubbed his eyes, “Are you sure?”
“Of course I am. I’ve been awake and just watched him.”
“Where is he now?”
“I don’t know,” Answered Lady Howesworth, “He’d walked further along the scaffolding.”
“We’d better call the police,” Said Cecil suddenly feeling more awake.
Cecil then dialled 999 and told the operator that someone had tried to break into their flat and the person he spoke to said they’d send the police to investigate right away. When Cecil put down the phone he said, “We’d better call the night porter as well and tell him what’s happened.”
“Ok,” Said Lady Howesworth still feeling frightened.
Cecil then called Tom, the night porter, who was based in a room on the ground floor of the luxury flats, and he told Tom that someone had just tried to burgle them and that the police were on their way.
Within five minutes Tom and two police officers were ringing on Cecil and Lady Howesworths door. They let them in and Lady Howesworth told them what she’d seen.
“Which way did the man go after trying to get into your flat?” Asked Colin, one of policemen.
“He went to my left with me facing the window,” Said Lady Howesworth.
“Is this the top floor?” Colin asked.
“Yeah,” Said Tom the porter.
“Is there an entrance to the roof?” Colin asked, not sure why he’d asked this.
“Yeah,” Said Tom, “There’s a stairwell leading to the roof at the end of the landing.”
“Ok,” Said Colin, still not sure where his train of thought had come from, “Lets look on the roof.”
“Ok,” Said Tom, “I’ll show you where to go.”
As they walked along the landing, the other policeman called Ted said to Tom, “There’s other police officers on the way. Maybe go downstairs and let them in, and tell some of them to search the scaffolding.”
“Ok,” Said Tom.
Will was sitting against the four foot high back wall that edged the roof. He’d just rolled a joint with cannabis and cocaine in it, when he suddenly heard the door that led to the roof open.
About forty feet away he saw the two policemen Colin and Ted exit the door. Even from that distance he saw the two policemen freeze as they spotted him in the darkness.
Will quickly stood up and stared at them, and the two policemen walked quickly towards him and as they got to about ten feet away, Colin flicked out his telescopic metal truncheon.
Will looked nervously over the wall at the scaffolding, then he turned back to the policemen. So far none of them had spoken, then Will said, “I ain’t goin’ back to jail,” And he suddenly leapt over the roof wall, onto the scaffolding, and in an attempt to commit suicide he threw himself off the scaffolding to the ground sixty feet below.
Will landed in a skip containing builders rubbish, with a thick double bed mattress on top. The impact of the fall momentarily shocked Will. For a second he wondered if he was dead, then when he tried to move he suddenly felt a searing pain shoot through his right shoulder, back and ribcage. Landing on the mattress had saved Will’s life, but he’d dislocated his shoulder and could hardly move and was in agony.
Will just laid there for nearly a minute, then he managed to sit up, feeling the pain shoot through him. He managed to get out of the skip and stood unsteadily on his feet, but moments later a policeman called Jeff and a policewomen called Sally seemed to appear from nowhere and grabbed him. Their colleagues on the roof had radioed them and said Will had jumped off the roof.
Jeff said, “I’m arresting you on suspicion of attempted burglary. Anything you say maybe given in evidence and used against you in a court of law. Do you understand?”
As Sally spun Will round and snapped handcuffs on Wills wrists behind his back, Will said, “Arrrggghh,” Feeling the pain shoot through him again, and he said, “I need a doctor. I think I’ve broke my shoulder.”
Sally said suddenly feeling sympathetic, “We’ll take you to A and E and get you checked out before we take you to the station.”
Jeff looked at the mattress on top of the skip then looked at Will and said, “You’re lucky to be alive son.”
TO BE CONTINUED