Sheffield crime victim: 'Restorative Justice helped me to see my burglar as a human being'

Martin Young (left) came face-to-face with man who broke into his Sheffield home
Martin Young (left) came face-to-face with man who broke into his Sheffield home
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A 28-year-old man, who tackled a burglar at his Sheffield home, says visiting the convicted criminal in prison has helped to give him piece of mind.

Shane Daley, aged 43, was jailed for three years last year for breaking into the home of Martin Young at his home in Lismore Road, Meersbrook.

During the sentencing in July 2016, Sheffield Crown Court heard how Mr Young heard a noise upstairs and, fearing a burglar, went to his shed, armed himself with an axe and shouted a warning.

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He then heard a thud outside and found Daley trying to hide before there was a confrontation during which Daley escaped.

Despite Daley being jailed, the ordeal left Mr Young, 28, feeling 'anxious' and concerned about what would happen on his release from prison.

But after Remedi, South Yorkshire's Restorative Justice provider, gave Mr Young the opportunity to come face-to-face with his burglar during a visit at a Doncaster prison, he says he now been given 'piece of mind' and that the experience has allowed him to see Daley as a 'human being'.

He explained: "You see them as a human, not just a criminal. I saw him as a human who was reacting to the pressures he was under and that he was sorry for what he'd done. It gave me a back story to how he came to be in the circumstances he was in, that put him into a position where he felt like he needed to burgle houses to keep himself afloat and to feed his addictions.

"We could make peace, and shake hands and say I understand what he did, and could say we were friends."

Mr Young added: "I'm still quite anxious about getting burgled but the main anxiety I had was seeing him in the street when he came out of prison, if he'd want some sort of revenge, and what his reaction to me would be if he saw I was the person that gave the evidence that sent him to prison. I didn't think he'd have a very good opinion of me. I didn't know if he'd come round and try and burgle the house again."

South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Alan Billings, says the restorative justice process helps victims of crime to regain some control.

He said: "Principally, it's about victims and giving them back a measure of control which is what victims talk about and enabling them to feel that something, very often when they're in the criminal justice system feel like it's all going on around them, they have no say in the matter, no control in the matter so this is a way of giving them some say, some control to anyone who is a victim of any crime and that's what we're trying to do."

Chris Hickin, Assistant Director of Remedi, said: "We tend not to assess the offence, it's more the individuals involved and how the process can help them. It's like trying to get the stars to align. We know that when it works well, and it more often than not does work well, we get results like this. And the best advert for restorative justice is restorative justice and the more people get to see it and see what people have got from it will help increase engagement as well."

"I think it offers some closure for offenders as well, being able to put the offence behind them, and it gives them an opportunity to express to the person they've harmed really how they feel now and that can be quite cathartic for an offender and it's proven to reduce offending, so it works on that level, but also on a humanistic level. That crime they've been sentenced for is because they've broken the law.