The prolific burglar who stole jewellery valued at nearly £1 million from the luxury Holland Park home of X Factor supremo Simon Cowell has failed to have his sentence reduced.
Darren February was told “society needed a break” from his activities as he lost his bid at the Court of Appeal on Thursday (October 5).
In March this year, the 33-year-old was jailed for eight years for the break-in which occurred while the music mogul slept in his home with his partner and young child, and just days before he caused a fatal car crash.
Mr Cowell was left “in constant fear” after the £950,000 burglary at his home on December 4, 2015, which also saw his passport stolen.
February was sentenced on March 1 at Isleworth Crown Court following a trial in which he was found guilty , and at the appeal hearing Lady Justice Rafferty, Mr Justice Haddon-Cave and Mr Justice Turner ruled that the prison sentence was not “manifestly excessive”.
Mr Justice Haddon-Cave, announcing the decision to reject February’s argument that his sentence was “too high”, said he had an “appalling” record.
He was a “professional burglar”, with a string of previous convictions, who targeted “high value addresses” in the upmarket London areas of Holland Park, Knightsbridge and Kensington .
February committed the burglary at the Cowell home at night when a child was present, said the judge, who added: “The occupants were at home asleep and vulnerable.”
Mr Justice Haddon-Cave said it was relevant to have regard, as the sentencing judge had done, to the victim impact statements made in the case. It was a domestic burglary which had a “serious effect on the occupants”.
In his victim impact statement, which was read out during the Crown Court proceedings , Mr Cowell said: “The whole incident has been very traumatic and there is a constant fear that it may be repeated and that it may be worse next time.”
Mr Justice Haddon-Cave said: “In our judgment, the judge was fully entitled to find that this was a case of greater harm and exceptionally high loss."
The judge concluded: “Those who play for high stakes can expect high sentences.
"Society needs a break from this offender’s activities.”
Ten days after the burglary, on December 14, February killed motorcyclist Kenneth Baldwin while he drove at speed down the wrong side of St Anns Road in Holland Park.
He was recklessly driving his ex-girlfriend’s Vauxhall Astra when he crashed into the dad-of-one, and tried to remove evidence linking him to the accident before driving away from the scene.
February received an eight-and-a-half sentence at Southwark Crown Court in conection with the fatal incident on May 12 2016.
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