Soft-touch judge who FAILED to jail burglar who went on to break into another 22 properties now CUTS his sentence
Judge Carol Hagen allowed Jason Reed to walk free after 12th burglary
Finally jails him after convicted rapist goes on to raid war hero’s home
But has now slashed term by a year after praising co-operation with police
By Simon Tomlinson
PUBLISHED: 18:26, 27 April 2012 | UPDATED: 20:08, 27 April 2012
A soft-touch judge who failed to jail a burglar who went on to commit 22 more raids has now cut his prison term.
Career criminal Jason Reed – also a convicted rapist – could have been jailed under the ‘three-strikes’ rule after initially admitting 12 burglaries.
But judge Carol Hagen, who has a history of leniency, instead gave him a suspended sentence to tackle his drug habit.
Reed, 39, went on to burgle 22 more properties in the following nine months – even stealing a war hero’s medals.
Judge Hagen finally jailed him for six years, but just weeks on has now slashed his sentence by a year – after praising his ‘co-operation’ with the police.
Addressing Reed, Judge Hagen said: ‘On reflection of the sentence, I felt that I had given insufficient weight to your co-operation and the effect that that has had on victims.
‘I hope that will encourage others to come forward and say what they have done.’
Judge Hagen opted out of jailing Reed – convicted of rape in 2004 – last June despite admitting his fourth burglary since the ‘three-strikes’ rule was introduced.
Under the law, any adult burglar convicted of their third domestic break-in should serve at least three years in prison unless the court considered there to be ‘exceptional circumstances’.
It was the 12th burglary on his criminal record at the time.
Instead, Reed was handed a suspended three-year jail term along with a drug treatment order to help him kick his habit.
But he was back before the court earlier this month – admitting one burglary, one theft and asking for 49 other break-ins over the past decade to be taken into consideration.
Bristol Crown Court heard that 22 of the burglaries had taken place since June.
The court was told Reed had smashed into the home of brave Dr Dave Winfield, 39, a former Army doctor, and stole two generations of war medals last November.
The hero, from Long Ashton, Bristol, was awarded the gongs for his service in some of the world’s fiercest battle zones – Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo.
He was also presented with a Queen’s Jubilee medal for his 17 years of long service.
The honours, stolen along with those belonging to his grandfather Thomas Winfield, who served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War, have all since been returned.
Judge Hagen finally jailed Reed for six years at Bristol Crown Court on April 3.
After the sentence, Dr Winfield said: ‘If this man had been jailed back in June, it would have saved me a whole lot of heartache.
‘The needs of the victims are the most important in crimes like this and judges should think about them first.’
But Reed was back in court on Thursday under the ‘slip rule’, which gives the court the power to alter a sentence within 56 days of it being made.
The judge claimed she formed her view after considering how police had written to her and said Reed had taken them on ‘drive rounds’ and cleared up 49 unsolved burglaries.
Police also confirmed remorseful Reed had been doing well in his fight to get off drugs before relapsing and had targeted homes he thought were unoccupied.