Burglar Freed From Jail To Look After Kids

Single dad from Nottingham wins appeal over his sentence.

Judges agreed that without Wayne Bishop - the youngsters situation was "unsatisfactory". The 33 year old from Clifton had argued that a judge had failed to give enough consideration to the ``plight'' of his children when sending him to jail has won his freedom.

He was originally jailed for a total of eight months last month - for a rugby club burglary and an offence of dangerous driving.

Two judges at the Court of Appeal in London on Friday ruled that his prison sentence should be suspended - a decision later described as ``landmark'' by Bishop's legal team.

His lawyers said the appeal was about striking the balance between the ``clear need'' for Bishop to be punished for his offending and the needs of his five children - aged between five and 13 - who he looks after five days a week.

Allowing the sentence appeal, Mr Justice Maddison, sitting with Mr Justice Sweeney, said the imposition of the eight month sentence was ``entirely appropriate'', and emphasised: ``It is important that criminals should not think that children can provide some sort of licence to commit criminal offences with impunity.''

But he added: ``All of that said, however, we have to be aware of the highly unsatisfactory and difficult situation faced by the children and those now doing their best to look after them.''

The appeal judges were told that before being jailed Bishop looked after the children throughout the week and his ex-partner had them at weekends. Responsibility for the youngsters had since been shared between his sister, who already has the care of seven children - one in a wheelchair - and his ex-partner, who works full-time on shifts.

Mr Justice Maddison said it was apparent that the position of the children was ``highly unsatisfactory'' in the ``absence of the appellant himself''.

Suspending the sentence, the judges imposed a 12-month supervision requirement, a curfew for three months between 10pm and 6am, and also directed that Bishop completes a ``thinking skills'' programme.

Bishop, who has previous convictions for an offence of theft and offences of driving while disqualified, had pleaded guilty to a burglary at Mansfield rugby club, when a quantity of chocolate was taken, and also admitted a count of dangerous driving.