Pair of criminals with 681 previous convictions between them spared jail

20 February 2020, 19:36 | Updated: 20 February 2020, 19:38

The number of sentences for jail terms has dropped to its lowest level in a decade
The number of sentences for jail terms has dropped to its lowest level in a decade. Picture: PA
Ewan Somerville

By Ewan Somerville

A pair of crooks with 681 convictions between them have been spared jail.

A woman with 390 previous convictions and a man with 291 were let off when they found themselves in court again in 2019, official figures revealed.

The woman was given a sentence of one-day detention and the male offender was given an absolute discharge.

Their crimes are not linked.

Conservative MP Philip Davies, who uncovered the figures, said they showed "how weak our criminal justice system is".

He added: “The fact you can have 390-odd previous convictions and still not be sent to prison, most people would find absolutely staggering.”

The data also shows that in 2017 a woman with 366 previous convictions was given a one-day detention and a man with 284 convictions was ordered to pay compensation.

Six per cent of those sentenced last year were sent directly to jail
Six per cent of those sentenced last year were sent directly to jail. Picture: PA

In 2018 a woman with 376 previous convictions and a man with 285 convictions were given a conditional discharge, while a man with 285 convictions was ordered to pay a fine.

No details of their offences were given, and the same offender could appear more than once if they had the highest number of previous convictions in different years.

It comes as the number of jail terms dropped to their lowest level in a decade, official figures show.

Of 1,187,372 sentences passed in the year to September 2019, 78% were fined, 8% got a community sentence, 6% were sent to jail immediately, 3% received a suspended sentence and another 3% were given conditional discharges.

Justice minister Lucy Frazer said: "Sentencing is a matter for our independent courts, who take into account all circumstances of the case, including any aggravating and mitigating factors.

"We are clear that sentencing must match the severity of a crime."

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