Rampaging thief breaks both ankles after smashing through cathedrals window

first_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Christopher Wing, prosecuting, said Wild had a £100-a-day crack and heroin habit so hid himself under the cathedral altar table and waited until the building was closed.He then emerged and smashed a collection box, but realised his escape would be difficult. Mr Wing said: “He then found himself unable to get out, so he climbed around the carvings and tombs and mortuary chests.”These items are of significant historical importance. They are damaged and it will cost a lot of money to repair them.”In order to make his way out Wild kicked out panels of stained glass windows which were last restored in the 19th century.”He got out of the window and dropped 25 feet and got multiple fractures when he hit the ground.” It is a place of worship and important spiritually to many people. Damage causes real distress. It is valued and loved in this city.Judge Susan Evans QC Wild had managed to damage mortuary chests at Winchester Cathedral, Hants, which held bones of some of the country’s Saxon kings from over 1,000 years ago.The six mortuary chests are believed to contain the remains of Egbert, King of Wessex,  who died in 839 AD.They are also understood to contain the bones of King Cnut, commonly known as Canute, who was a king of Denmark, England and Norway.Other chests to be damaged are thought to have William Rufus, who was King of England from 1087 until 1100, and Saint Swithun, who was an Anglo-Saxon bishop of Winchester.All Wild managed to steal was £10 cash from the charity donation box, Winchester Crown Court heard, before falling 25 feet from the window. Wild suffered a total of five fractures from the break-in which happened overnight on May 9 and 10 this year. After PC Vanes made the connection, he tracked Wild down via the taxi firm to his room at a hostel in Hyde Street, Winchester.While there, he found cathedral donation envelopes and arrested Wild.He told police he sometimes went to the cathedral to pray and was also sometimes suicidal about his drug-ruined life which has seen him amass 31 convictions for 67 offences.He admitted burglary and criminal damage, estimated at £37,867, to the mortuary chests and stained glass windows through which he battered an escape route.Nicholas Cotter, mitigating, said Wild’s life had been blighted by drugs and the need to find money which led to a string of offences.He said the broken bones were “perhaps a Biblical punishment” and he was still in pain.He said the damage was not malicious but reckless as, in his drug-addled state, Wild sought to flee the scene.Jailing Wild, Judge Susan Evans QC said: “Winchester Cathedral is an important symbolic building. It is a unique building that many people work hard to preserve.”It is a place of worship and important spiritually to many people. Damage causes real distress. It is valued and loved in this city.”The cathedral is financially self-supporting. It has insurance but the cost of the claim will mean a greater premium the next year.”I accept your remorse and that you did not intend to cause the level of damage you did and that you continue to suffer the effects of the fall.”The mortuary chests are currently stacked on the ground as part of a research project into the bones inside, which have become jumbled up.However, they are believed to contain members of the Royal families of Wessex and England, from Cynegils who died in 642 AD to William Rufus, who was slain in the New Forest in 1100.St Swithun, who is patron saint of the cathedral and whose bones are said to be in the chests, is famous for the proverb which states that if it rains on July 15 – St Swithun’s Day – it will rain for the next 40 days.The first time the bones were mixed together happened when Bishop Henry of Blois exhumed them in 1158 to re-enter them into lead coffers.Then in 1642, during the English Civil War, Parliamentarian troops stormed the cathedral and toppled the chests in an act of sacrilege.They were gathered up and replaced, but it’s impossible to know which bones belong together. Work to identify them at the cathedral, which attracts over 300,000 visitors a year, continues.center_img A thief caused nearly £40,000 worth of damage to a cathedral’s historic relics then broke both his ankles as he smashed through its stained glass windows to escape.Paul Wild has been jailed for 20 months and remains in considerable pain a little over three months later in what a court heard was “perhaps a Biblical punishment”.On the night of the theft, a policeman saw Wild crawling away near a taxi rank, but simply assumed him to be drunk.But when PC Ben Vanes was called to the crime scene, he made the connection and later tracked down the 34-year-old heroin addict. The statue of St Swithun in the cathedralCredit: Stephen Lock The statue of St Swithun in the cathedrallast_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *