Christ(‘s)! Where’s My Post?
A thief who stole students’ post from Christ’s and Emmanuel has been spared prison after a judge ruled the thief’s Asperger’s syndrome was to blame.
A serial post-thief was slapped with a community order on Friday after being caught rifling through mail at Christ’s College earlier this year.
Van Courchene, 32, was caught pilfering post from Christ’s in June, and a search of his rucksack revealed he’d also looted Emmanuel’s plodge.
In Court on Friday Courchene pleaded guilty to the charges, as well as breaching two suspended sentences. Courchene had previously been caught stealing from a youth hostel in London and student accommodation in Oxford, where he made off with identity cards, concert tickets and foreign currency.
But he was spared jail after the judge took account of his Asperger’s syndrome. His lawyer argued the post thefts were the only way Courchene felt he could connect with others.
The Judge said it was clear that Courchene had: “significant difficulties based upon [his] diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome”, and decided a prison sentence would not be in the public interest, as it would mean Courchene would lose his accommodation and leave him on the streets with no support.
Instead of prison, Courchene has been given a two-year community order, during which time he will be supervised and undergo training. He will also face a 9pm to 6am curfew for the first three months of his sentence.
The judge who imposed the order said he hoped it would provide an opportunity for Courchene to “sort things out” – though hopefully not other people’s post.
Courchene’s postal theft is the latest incident of college security being breached, an on-going problem across Cambridge. In May a burglar was caught red handed in Queens’.
But despite the slip, Leo Parker-Rees, a Christ’s fourth-year studying Management, retains complete faith in his college. He told The Tab: “No one could get past Christ’s porters. Letting people think they have a chance seems a good way to bait the criminal element, protecting more poorly guarded plodges.”