A MAN who was caught with jewellery stolen during the burglary of a 92-year-old widow's home has been jailed.

Gary Smith pleaded guilty to a charge of handling stolen goods after he was cleared of taking part in a separate robbery in March last year.

His co-accused David Laddie, pictured below, also pleaded guilty to same charge earlier this month after he was found guilty of robbery, attempting to pervert the course of justice and possession of criminal property.

The Northern Echo:

David Laddie was sentenced to 12-and-a-half years in prison at Teesside Crown Court

Smith, formerly of Sacriston, appeared at Teesside Crown Court via videolink to Durham Prison.

Chris Baker, prosecuting, said the burglary of the pensioner in March had left the victim traumatised following the theft of sentimental gold jewellery given to her by her husband, including one piece she was given by him when they were teenagers. The jewellery was never recovered and returned to the pensioner.

In mitigation, Mark Styles, said his client would stand a better chance of staying out of prison now that Laddie was serving a lengthy custodial sentence and he was addressing his drug problem.

He said: "That clearly needs to be backed up and he seems to be on the right track now. It's up to him to carry that forward."

The 39-year-old was sentenced to ten months in custody by Judge Howard Crowson.

In a separate hearing, Laddie's partner Kelly Barron was sentenced after pleading guilty to two charges of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

The 35-year-old, of Lilac Avenue, Sacriston, tried to persuade a witness in the robbery trial to change her evidence.

Mr Baker told the court that a number of telephone calls between Laddie and Barron had been recorded on the prison network.

During the conversations Laddie repeated asked Barron to get the witness to come to prison to visit him and in a series of letters to her he also offered her a number of incentives to change her version of events.

The court heard that Barron was given the task to persuade the witness to tell police that Laddie was not present during the robbery where a woman was followed into her home by three masked men in March last year.

Once inside, they forced the woman onto a kitchen chair and held her at knifepoint before taking several personal items.

In mitigation, Lewis Kerr, said his client was under the influence of Laddie and was clearly in love with her partner at the time of the offences.

Judge Crowson said Barron would have been looking at a custodial sentence but as she had served the equivalent of 14-month jail term whilst on remand he passed a 12-month community order.