Former Honiton resident convicted for stealing student’s laptop

Stuart Fowler who has been convicted of burglary. Picture Exeter Crown Court

Stuart Fowler who has been convicted of burglary. Picture Exeter Crown Court - Credit: Archant

A former Honiton resident has been convicted of burglary after stealing an Exeter University student’s laptop from her room in a hall of residence last September.

Stuart Fowler, 41, leaned in through a window and used a stick to drag the new £1,500 MacBook towards him via the charging cable.

The student, who lives on the ground floor of a hall of residence in Sidwell Street, Exeter, had gone to make dinner in the kitchen before returning to see her laptop missing and a potted plant knocked from the windowsill.

The former Honiton resident is a serial burglar and sold the laptop for just £400 to get money to buy drugs.

Mr Fowler was already in jail, having been convicted of an almost identical raid 48 hours earlier at another first-year student’s home at the Northfields hall of residence in New North Road, Exeter.

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The victim, who was at a freshers’ party at the time, was said to have been in so much distress that she almost abandoned her degree before tutors persuaded her to continue.

Mr Fowler was jailed for two years and five months for that burglary at Exeter Crown Court in December.

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He admitted the second burglary and was jailed for ten months by Judge Timothy Rose at Exeter Crown Court, but the sentence will run concurrently with his existing sentence and will not affect his release date.

Miss Francesca Whebell, prosecuting, said a student living in a ground floor room at James Owen Court in Sidwell Street, Exeter, noticed the MacBook Pro was missing at around 9am on September 23 last year.

She had been in and out of the room while cooking a meal in a communal kitchen and visiting other students. She returned to find a plant on her windowsill had been knocked over and a piece of wood next to it.

A detective who had arrested Fowler for the burglary at Northfields on September 21 recognised him from CCTV. He admitted the theft and said he sold the computer for £400 to get money for drugs.

Mr James Rickard, defending, said:”When he was interviewed, I was expecting stubborn silence, but when he was read the victim impact statement he said ‘I did it’. The statement had a real impact.”

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