Judge criticised over sentence

Judge Simon Bourne-Arton Photo: North News

A judge has been criticised for admitting in court he was "probably doing the wrong thing" in not sending a serial burglar to prison.

Jason Wheatley Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Jason Wheatley had previously been to jail after admitting being a passenger in a stolen car in 2006. It hit eight-year-old Daniel Conroy Curtin in Middlesbrough and he died from his injuries.

Daniel Conroy Curtin was just 8 when he died Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Now Wheatley has been before the courts for burglary. It's the second time he's been convicted of the crime but Judge Simon Bourne-Arton gave him a 10 month sentence suspended for two years.

The judge told Wheatley "I strongly believe that you should be ordered to serve that sentence immediately. But I am just going to give you one last chance. But understand this - it is your last chance."

He added: "I firmly believe I'm probably doing the wrong thing here. If you come back before me I will know I've done the wrong thing."

Clare Conroy
Clare Conroy Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

But the mother of Daniel Conroy Curtin says sentences are too lenient. She's been campaigning for the justice system to change.

Wheatley's conviction for aggravated vehicle taking wasn't mentioned in the burglary hearing.

"It makes me angry and it makes me upset because every time you hear they are reoffending again it's like reliving my nightmare. The justice system is just smacking their hands and letting them go. It's really awful and families are suffering. It's heartbreaking."

– Clare Conroy