To watch your own daughter appear in court for multiple instances of shoplifting would be distressing for any parent, but for 54-year-old mum Wendy Probert, circumstances were even more complicated.
Wendy’s 30-year-old daughter, Kimberley Probert from Worcester, appeared before Worcester Crown Court on Tuesday, charged with a string of thefts which she committed to supplement her heroin addiction.
Her crimes included stealing meat and other goods from Co-op shops in April, before taking a TV from Tesco in May.
Throughout July and August her crime spree continued, leading her to pinch £295 worth of Homebase products, as well as a camera costing £49.99 from a store in Worcester.
Kimberley was caught out for the camera theft by police officers after she attempted to sell it over Facebook.
Kimberley also took advantage of the kindness of a good Samaritan, pretending to have been chased so he’d invite her into his home, giving the desperate addict the perfect opportunity to make off with his wallet.
Prosecutor Lal Amarasinghe made the following statement:
A man saw her running in front of his house in a distressed state on August 27 at around 2.40pm.
She told him she was being followed by a Romanian male. He invited her in to help her and ensure her safety.
She sat down on the sofa and he left for ten seconds to get her a glass of water. She said she didn’t want to contact police.
She got up and left and he discovered his wallet had been taken. It’s an unpleasant theft from a residential dwelling, having been invited in.
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— Stop Heroin Now, Inc (@StopHeroinNow) December 14, 2017
At the time of the trial, Kimberley was in the process of being assessed for a rehabilitation centre placement.
However, Wendy felt another course of action was required and pleaded with Judge Daniel Pearce-Higgins QC to keep her troubled daughter in jail.
When asked by the judge what would help prevent Kimberley from reoffending, Wendy’s response was surprising:
I don’t want her out until they’ve done it (assessed her). It would benefit my daughter for her mental state and drug use.
I’m not convinced she’ll receive sufficient support in the community to keep her on the straight and narrow.
Of course, no parent would wish imprisonment on their child unless they knew if was for their own benefit and Wendy explained how she was ‘desperate’ for Kimberley to overcome her damaging addiction, stating her unusual plea was ‘for mother’s love and desperation.’
— ITV News Central (@ITVCentral) December 15, 2017
Judge Pearce-Higgins agreed with Wendy’s assessment of the situation and remanded Kimberley in custody.
What is going to break the cycle?
She is in the grip of a heroin addiction.
Natalie was street homeless at the start of the year and is now battling with a heroin addiction…
— BBC Wales ??????? (@BBCWales) December 17, 2017
After the court hearing, Wendy spoke about how her daughter – who is herself a mother to two children – had previously managed to stay clean for four and a half years:
Because of the nature of the crimes, especially the wallets, it’s not nice. She’s been suffering and she needs some sort of help.
She’ll accept it, whether it will work is to be seen.
I would hope that if she gets the correct help we can stop this pattern of reoffending and drug use.Let’s just hope Kimberley now gets the support she needs to turn her life around.
If you’ve been affected by any of the issues in this article then help is available. Further information can be found on the Talk To Frank website.
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.