A 26-year-old man who has admitted the manslaughter of a hairdresser was ordered by a judge in Northampton to “stay out of trouble” less than a month before the killing, the Chronicle & Echo can reveal.
Thomas White, of Bibury Close, Wellingborough, was given a deferred sentence in May last year after he admitted stealing £42,000 worth of property from a house in Milton Malsor.
Despite the fact he could have imposed a custodial sentence, His Honour Judge Rupert Mayo took the step of delaying his sentence for six months to give White a chance to prove the crime was a one-off.
Judge Mayo told White he would given him a suspended prison sentence if he “kept out of trouble, did not take drugs, worked with a well-being team, remained in employment and worked as hard as he could to compensate the victim”.
However, Luton Crown Court heard this week that White was responsible for the death of 31-year-old hairdresser Ashley Gillard less than a month after he was given the deferred sentence.
Mr Gillard was found dead in his flat at Trevithick Court, Wolverton, near Milton Keynes in the early hours of June 9 last year. Forensic investigators believe he probably died on the night of Friday June 5.
The court heard White and Mr Gillard had been in a relationship, and had taken illegal recreational drugs, such as ghb, to a “very high level”.
The victim of White’s burglary had also been a previous boyfriend and White had used his knowledge of how to disable the alarm code to steal goods including a diamond watch worth £30,000.
The court heard that White claimed he had “no recollection” of the burglary as he had consumed a large amount of alcohol and drugs. The court heard he went to the address with another man he had met on social media who then booked a hotel room for them after the incident.
Judge Mayo was persuaded not to send White to prison last year after reading “hugely positive” references from his manager at Pizza Express in Milton Keynes and his mother that showed his crime was “out of character”.
The Sentencing Council states deferred sentences are used in a small group of cases close to the community or custodial sentence threshold.
The guidance states the court should also ensure that the offender “understands the consequences of failure to comply with the court’s wishes during the deferment period.”
It states: “If the offender fails to comply with any requirement imposed in connection with the deferment, or commits another offence, he or she can be brought back to court before the end of the deferment period and the court can proceed to sentence.”