By George Icke
A 31-year-old thief was sentenced today at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court and will now return to life in the community after serving the custodial part of his sentence while being held on remand.
Terrence Moulton, of Halifax Road, Rochdale appeared via a video link from Forest Bank Prison after being found guilty of theft and handling, messages constituting malicious communications and breaching a suspended sentence.
Moulton was wearing a teal Nike tracksuit and sat with his hands together awaiting the start of the sentencing that was delayed for a number of reasons including another defendant being late to the sentencing presenting Miss Recorder Abigail Hudson with a dilemma as to whether to sentence Mr Moulton on his own and without his representation due to bar action.
Trying to establish the best way forward Judge Abigail Hudson said: “Today I have to decide what the way forward is.” “In relation to your case you fall to be sentenced for 3 offences but also for the breach of a suspended sentence order.” “It may be that any court decides the only option is to impose a custodial sentence.”
Due to ongoing barrister strikes, Hudson explained to Moulton through the video call that he was not represented by a defence barrister and that the “reality is nobody is here to make any representations about whether it should be prison or a suspended sentence order.”
Moulton sat up in the room at Forest Bank and replied to the judge: “I’ll represent myself, your honour.” Judge Hudson replied: “would you rather be sentenced today or wait for Mr Merchant.”
He responded: “I’ve been in custody for a period of time, I’d like to be sentenced so I can tell my children when I’m coming home.”
Judge Hudson agreed with the defendant stating: “It would not be fair for Mr Moulton to wait for a trial to conclude which is yet to be charged.”
Moulton, representing himself, acknowledged the offences of theft and handling but refuted the allegations made regarding a charge of sending a letter/communication/article conveying a threatening message. A victim statement alleged that they were contacted at 9.30 in the morning by an unknown number, upon answering the phone and recognised the voice to be Moulton. He is alleged to have said “you little slag, I’m going to be coming to your house today, you’re in for a big shock. I’m on the run from the police so I don’t care. If I was you... I’d stay indoors.”
Mr Moulton placed his head into his hands from the hearing room at Forest Bank Prison and exclaimed: “I never said that.” His protestations were stopped by Judge Hudson who replied: “Thank you, Mr Moulton, I will come to you shortly.”
Overall the probation service informed the judge that they were “satisfied” with the compliance of Moulton with the suspended sentence, and although he removed his curfew tag due to ill mental health, he subsequently handed himself into a police station.
Explaining his frustrations Moulton stated to Judge Hudson: “I feel I never get my side of the story listened to, I just get remanded in custody.” Moulton said he was willing to attend sessions to build better relationships and the probation service after his previous attempts to attend were hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sentencing, Judge Hudson said that in the process of the theft Moulton & Merchant were “chased by police and even misdirected the police” while posing as bystanders. Judge Hudson also said there was “Bad will” both ways between the victim and defendant. She continued “all of your offences are aggravated by the fact you have previous for dishonesty. “You clearly have emotional difficulties. You clearly need help with your ADHD & anxiety.”
Passing down her sentence, Hudson stated: “The reality is you were offered help when you had the suspended sentence imposed on you. It didn’t work.” You committed these offences shortly after the suspended sentence was imposed. Offering reductions for guilty pleas, Judge Hudson imposed the following sentences: 10 weeks for theft, 6 weeks for handling, 1 month for malicious communications and the remainder of the 9-month suspended sentence, which gave a total sentence of 12 months in custody. Judge Hudson said: “by my calculation, that means you’ll be released today or in the near future on licence.” In relation to driving, as Moulton used a vehicle to commit these offences, he is therefore disqualified for 12 months running from today.