Suspected for a role in burglary 14 years back. An expat dad, who returned back to Birmingham for the surprise birthday party was arrested. Bricklayer, Lloyd Walmsley. 39-year-old, who used to live in Greenleigh Road, Yardley replied that he would not return back to his wife and child, which lived in Australia unless he had completed his punishment.

He was given a 12-month community order, with 200 hours of unpaid work – to be completed before returning to his family.

Ian Windridge, prosecuting, said the offenses went back to February 2004 when a couple living in Plymouth Road, Redditch, was disturbed by a noise at 2.45am. Two intruders fled with the keys to their £26,000 Audi A3 and the car was driven away, followed by a BMW in which the burglars had arrived.

Asking the judge to take the ‘unusual course’ of passing a community sentence, he said Walmsley was worried a jail sentence could result in him not being allowed to return to Australia.

Mr. Bell said, “Walmsley would remain in the UK to carry out any unpaid work he was ordered on an intensive basis of 35 hours a week until the order was completed”. In May 2004 Walmsley pleaded guilty to the burglary and the theft of the car, but Nicholls denied the charges, so the case was adjourned for his trial.

Nicholls, who had a bad record for burglaries, later changed his plea to guilty and was jailed for four years in December 2004 at a hearing which Walmsley failed to attend, leading to the warrant for his arrest.

Mr. Bell, referring to the original pre-sentence report from 2004 said, “He has achieved what the recommendation in the report set out to achieve, putting his old associates behind him, putting his offending behind him and building a new life”.

Judge Sylvia de Bertodano replied Walmsley: “You came into court today with your bag packed. Had you been here as you should have been in 2004, your life would have been very much easier, and you would have got this behind you. No-one suggests you fled to Australia to avoid this because you were in this country for four years before you went to Australia 10 years ago and started to begin a new life. You are a completely different man from the 25-year-old who committed this serious burglary back in 2004, at a time when you went off the rails. You also have to be dealt with for your failure to attend, but I do believe this to be an exceptional case”.

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