A swaggering teenage tearaway who “enjoys the thrill of offending” was among a gang that broke into a house where two pensioners in their 80s were asleep and then brazenly drove off in their two cars.
The two stolen vehicles were driven recklessly around in convoy during a dangerous, hair-raising joyriding escapade around Hull in the early hours. Their antics caused £14,000 damage to one almost brand new car that was only six months old.
The teenager, a passenger in one of the cars, was “acting up” under peer pressure but had a history of burglary and his identity can be revealed today after a judge at Hull Crown Court rejected the idea that it would “demonise” him if his name was reported.
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Lennon McCusker, 20, of Limedane, and Dawid Kajzer, 17, of Lingcourt, both Orchard Park estate, Hull, admitted burglary on November 16. McCusker also admitted dangerous driving and Kajzer admitted being carried in a car taken without consent.
The court heard that an 82-year-old woman was sleeping in a front bedroom at the house in Larard Avenue, Hull, where she had lived since 1953. A man aged 80 was sleeping in a back bedroom. Their two cars, a Seat Arona and a Seat Tarraco, were outside.
(Image: Humberside Police)
Michael Greenhalgh, prosecuting, said that the woman went downstairs at 4am to make the man a cup of tea because he was not very well and she discovered that someone had broken in through a window and taken two sets of car keys. The burglars had stolen £280 from the man’s wallet.
Four people were shown on CCTV taking the two cars at 12.25am. Police saw them in convoy in Rawling Way at 1.42am and activated their blue flashing lights. “The vehicles drove off at speed to avoid apprehension,” said Mr Greenhalgh.
“A pursuit followed. The chase lasted three-and-a-half minutes through the central area of Hull.” The Seat Arona driven by McCusker, with Kajzer a rear passenger, reached speeds of 70 to 80mph in a 30mph limit.
It was driven on the wrong side of the road, failed to stop at red traffic lights or give way and showed no regard for other road users or pedestrians. “Happily, there weren’t any,” said Mr Greenhalgh
(Image: Humberside Police)
The two cars went different directions and the Arona became the focus of the police attention. The chase stopped only when the car’s gearbox failed. The occupants got out and Kajzer tried to hide in a garden but was detained. McCusker was detained when he exited the car. There was a smell of cannabis in the car.
The 80-year-old man said: “I am very, very upset. It has cost us both a lot of money. We have had to borrow a loan to get another car.” One of the cars had been left with £14,000 of damage. The problems included a burned-out clutch and four flat tires. His car was only six months old at the time and his insurance premiums had now gone up from £350 to nearly £800.
They had spent £8,000 on getting a replacement car because the woman had still not got her car back. The man had got his car back only a month ago.
McCusker had convictions for assault, assaulting and resisting police, criminal damage and going equipped for theft. Kajzer had two convictions for burglary and others for possessing drugs, being carried in a car taken without consent and going equipped for theft.
Amber Hobson, mitigating, said the offenses were “shocking” but McCusker had expressed his “serious remorse” and realized that he was on the wrong track. “He wishes to turn his life around,” said Miss Hobson. “His goal is to make something of himself.”
McCusker wanted to have a career in ground work and to have his own business. “This has been a big wake-up call for this 20-year-old man,” said Miss Hobson.
“He contributes to his family in positive ways. They are deeply saddened by his actions and the prospect of not seeing him for some time.”
Stephen Robinson, representing Kajzer, said the teenager misbehaved and offended when with others and while suffering from negative peer influence. There was an element of “acting up” and he didn’t have the skills to pull back from that.
“There is starting to be the realization of the seriousness of this offense and some remorse, mixed with a large amount of self-pity,” said Mr Robinson. “There is a realization of the effects he has on people.
“There has been good progress in custody. He has behaved excellently in custody and is described as a gold prisoner there. There is hope for the future, as demonstrated by his behavior in custody, and awareness at least of what’s going on.”
Judge Mark Bury said: “You’re lucky it was 2 in the morning because if it had not been, somebody could easily have been knocked over and killed. The cars were going over speed bumps at reckless speeds.”
He told McCusker: “You could easily have lost control, crashed into a building or a road sign, causing you and your passengers serious injury, if not worse. You only stopped because the car broke down. The clutch had burned out and you tried to get away.These cars were extremely badly damaged.
“When you commit burglaries like this, it causes significant trauma. These two elderly people have been significantly affected by it. I regard this offending as very serious.”
Judge Bury said that it seemed that Kajzer “enjoys the thrill of offense” and he told the teenager: “If you keep doing this when you are released, the sentences are just going to get longer and longer. It’s time to grow up and start having.”
McCusker was sent to a young offenders’ institution for three years and was banned from driving for two-and-a-half years. Kajzer was given detention of two-and-a-half years.
Judge Bury refused an application by the defense that Kajzer’s name should not be reported. The teenager’s barrister claimed that, because Kajzer was only 17, he should stay anonymous and that revealing his name would supposedly “demonise” him. “The public have a right to know your identity and the reporting restriction concerning your age is lifted,” said Judge Bury.