An unemployed father-of-eight from Sunderland has drawn attention to himself after telling a court in the UK that he stole a roast from an Asda store because it reminded him of his dead grandmother. 51-year-old John Casey told the court that he had to put the meat, on sale for £12 (roughly $18), in his rucksack because it kept prompting “flashbacks”.
Casey, from Washington, near Sunderland, was caught on camera putting the meat into his bag, and although he was aware of the evidence against him and admitted to taking the roast, he denied the charge of theft throughout saying that it was necessary to keep the meat out of sight in order to control the flashbacks.
“After I picked the meat up and was walking around the shop it was the blood in bag that was bringing it on,” Casey, who never told the police that it was because of the flashbacks that he put the meat in his rucksack, explained to the jury. “Everyday my grandmother is with me. I remember her. But this was not like any other. I was reliving it – it was like I was there with her again.”
After two days of proceedings heard by one of Newcastle Crown Court’s most distinguished judges, Judge Milford, Casey was convicted of the offence and handed a two-year conditional discharge.
After the trial, which cost the taxpayer an estimated £10,000 a day to run, Judge Milford told Casey that he will not be as kind to him again. “You have caused a huge amount of unnecessary expense to be incurred by electing trial and you have no means from which you can cover the costs of this expensive trial.” Normally minor theft cases would be held in lower courts without a jury, although defendants retain the right to have their case heard before a jury.
Casey said that he did not actually remember putting the beef in his bag and told the jury that it was a “dead cert” that he would not have shoplifted of his own volition.