The addicts whose booze, drugs or gambling problems drove them to appalling crime

Whether it’s drinking, drugs or gambling, crippling addictions are often the driver behind appalling acts of crime. Many people commit vile offenses while intoxicated only to be horrified at their behavior when they come around, usually in a police cell.

While others have dependency issues so entrenched they lead them to acquisitive crime -such as theft or fraud – to fund their rocky lifestyles. It does not excuse breaking the law but addiction often puts a different perspective on people’s behavior.

And such cases are often among some of the most tragic we cover for both the victims and the perpetrators. It is not uncommon to see judge’s pass what appear to be ‘lenient’ suspended sentences or community orders which involve support from the probation service to try and tackle the root cause of the problem.

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It is argued that approach better serves the public interest than someone being locked up for a short time only to be cast back out into society battling the same issues with no help. But of course sometimes the crime is so serious the only appropriate option is immediate custody.

We have covered a number of cases this year where addictions have featured heavily in a defendant’s mitigation. Scroll through the full list below.

Charlie Williams



Charlie Williams

Charlie Williams made vile threats about children, rejected the help of a black doctor and shouted ‘EDL’ in a drunk and racist tirade. The 28-year-old from Handsworth began shouting loud outbursts to himself before he had confrontations with a neighbor.

When police arrived to arrest him he spat on one female officer’s face. In custody at Perry Barr he refused to be seen by a doctor due to their ethnicity, then in hospital he started abusing a black couple resulting in staff refusing to treat him.

Williams’ lawyer stated he had been in and out of prison for a decade with most of his offending caused by alcohol abuse. He admitted four counts of racially aggravated disorder, two offenses of threatening behavior, one charge of assaulting an emergency worker and a further count of criminal damage.

Williams was jailed for eight months. Full story here

Kimberley Eccleshare



Kimberley Eccleshare
Kimberley Eccleshare

Kimberley Eccleshare’s spate of attacks against police were so vile she was branded a ‘wild animal’ – while one victim contemplated quitting their job at the force. The 37-year-old spat at, kicked and racially abused officers telling one to ‘go back to your own country’.

She also threatened to slit one victim’s throat and Taser another target during a summer rampage, which mainly took place at the ironically named Peace Gardens in Birmingham city center. Eccleshare has been taking drugs since the age of 14 and was ‘gripped by addiction’, including using Mamba at the time of the offenses, a court heard. She admitted multiple counts of assaulting emergency workers, racially aggravated harassment, criminal damage and drug possession.

Eccleshare, from Edgbaston, had spent seven months in custody on remand but was spared further immediate jail time as she was sentenced to a 15-month suspended sentence as well as a two-year criminal behavior order banning her from part of the city. Full story here

Maisie Passey



Maisie Passey, from Sutton Coldfield, defrauded her Aston-based employers Auctus Management out of £ 290,000
Maisie Passey

Maisie Passey stole £ 290,000 from her own company which she squandered on drink, drugs and furniture to ‘make herself feel better’. The 27-year-old made around 500 fraudulent payments to herself in three years while working as a payroll coordinator at Aston-based Auctus Management.

She changed employees’ bank details to her own and fabricated time sheets to carry out the scam. Passey, from Sutton Coldfield, turned to drink and drugs blaming her previous ‘toxic’ relationship as well as a loan shark who piled on interest to her debts.

She admitted fraud by abuse of position and was jailed for 30 months despite being eight months pregnant at the time of her court hearing. Full story here

Shain Choudhury



Shain Choudhury leaving Birmingham Magistrates' Court after an initial hearing
Shain Choudhury

Gambling and booze addictions drove Shain Choudhury to plunder more than £ 5,000 from the safe of Erdington-based Litecraft – where he worked as a manager. The 36-year-old denied his actions for two years until his trial loomed and he admitted taking a number of cash bags.

Choudhury, of Chetwynd Road, Blakenall, Wolverhampton, admitted theft and was sentenced to nine months, suspended for 18 months. He was also ordered to pay back £ 2,000 in compensation. Full story here.

John Davis



John Davis who stole from a man who had become unconscious after smoking a cigarette
John Davis

John Davis picked a man’s pockets, stealing a phone and banks cards which he then tried to use in a nearby shop. He targeted the victim in Sparkhill by giving him a cigarette which caused him to collapse.

A week earlier he had smashed a car window in Digbeth and swiped a bag containing £ 300 cash. Davis, who was addicted to heroin at the time of the incidents, was jailed for nine months after pleading guilty to two charges of theft and three counts of fraud. Full story here.

Giles Billingham



Giles Billingham
Giles Billingham

Drug addict Giles Billingham stole £ 16,000 from his own grandmother after taking out Power of Attorney. The move gave him ‘unfettered access’ to the 94-year-old’s finances.

Billingham, aged 43, from Aston, had previously been jailed for assaulting his grandmother, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. He admitted two counts of fraud by abuse of position and was handed a two-year suspended sentence. Full story here

Peter Flynn



Peter Flynn snatched a bag from a 75-year-old woman on a mobility scooter
Peter Flynn

Peter Flynn was so entrenched in drug addiction he snatched a bag from a frail pensioner on a mobility scooter in Walsall. The 35-year-old had broken up with his ex-partner who said the ‘final straw’ was the fact he stole children’s Christmas presents.

When she refused his latest demand for money he told her ‘I’m going on the rob’ and targeted the frail 75-year-old pensioner as she left Co-op. But a witness took a number of photographs of Flynn as he tried to escape while the incident also prompted a social media appeal for information.

Flynn from Edgbaston, admitted robbery and was jailed for five years. Full story here

Deepak Mall



Brazen burglar Deepak Mall who broke into couple's home in full public view
Deepack Mall

Deepak Mall burgled a flat in Sutton Coldfield – but was arrested when he returned to the scene while police were there. The 29-year-old kicked his way into the home in full view of the public and stole a bunch of keys, two Nintendo switch remotes, a driving license and a bank card which was subsequently used to purchase a take-away Chinese meal for £ 3.50.

He was drunk at the time of the break-in which itself was said to be driven by his alcohol addiction. Mall, from Sutton Coldfield, admitted burglary and was sentenced to an 18-month community order as well as told to pay £ 500 compensation and £ 1,200 in costs. Full story here

Dante Kalsi



Dante Kalsi who shot two men in a street in Smethwick
Dante Kalsi

Cannabis addict Dante Kalsi blasted two people who had been going out for a takeaway in Smethwick. One victim was shot twice with one bullet going through his lower chest and out of his back. The other casualty was hit in the leg and required three operations.

The motive for the 24-year-old gunman’s actions remains a mystery. Kalsi, from Walsall, had also been part of a cash-in-transit robbery gang which collectively netted £ 328,000 in four months. He was involved in a raid on a One Stop in West Bromwich bagging £ 20,000.

Kalsi admitted two charges of wounding with intent, two of possessing a firearm, robbery and perverting the course of justice. He was jailed for 18 years and 10 months. His lawyer told the court he had become addicted to cannabis and had no idea what to do with his life. Full story here

Jagdeep Chohan



Jagdeep Chohan
Jagdeep Chohan

Alcoholic Jagdeep Chohan crashed a BMW head-on into a lorry in Willenhall – whilst nearly three times over the drink-driving limit. The 35-year-old had been speeding and lost control causing the car to bounce off the kerb and rebound towards oncoming traffic near the King Cod chip shop.

He was taken to hospital with what were suspected to be life-threatening injuries although it transpired they were not as serious as first thought. Chohan, of Willenhall, has a number of drink-driving offenses on his record and admitted being addicted to booze.

He pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and was jailed for 24 weeks. Full story here

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