A heartbroken bride’s wedding day was completely ruined by a drug-addicted Hull woman.
Chantelle Gowen, “ransacked” the bride’s flat and stole treasured sentimental items and gifts the woman had bought for her future husband.
She was left feeling “extremely devastated” and “violated” by the burglary and felt so upset that she had to buy a new wedding dress to replace the one that was in the flat.
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The bride said: “Our wedding day was cut short.
“We were married at 10am. We returned home at midday, just me and my husband.”
The couple were also afraid that the raiders might target them again and she said she was “absolutely gutted” that the burglary had happened in “such a lovely place”.
So much property was taken that the woman believed that bin bags and towels must have been used to carry it away, Hull Crown Court heard.
Sentimental items including mementos and photographs of her late parents were also stolen in the raid.
Gowen, 36, of Sykes Street, Hull, admitted burglary and fraud on October 10, 2020.
Ashleigh Metcalfe, prosecuting, said that the woman was living in a first-floor flat in Plimsoll Way, near Victoria Park, Hull, but returned to her home to find that every room had been “ransacked” and searched.
A safe had been taken and items of sentimental value had been stolen.
(Image: Humberside Police)
It seemed that such a large haul of property had been stolen that the woman suspected that bin bags and towels had been used to carry it away.
The items taken included wage slips, job contracts, tenancy agreements, rings, an expired passport and a birth certificate.
The woman was upset that also stolen were a locket with pictures of her late parents in it, a watch belonging to her mother and other items from or belonging to her parents.
Gowen’s DNA was found and she left fingerprints behind.
She used a stolen bank card from the flat at a shop in Hessle but the transaction was declined.
The woman said in a statement that she read to the court: “I feel violated and I feel devastated, extremely devastated.”
Some of the items stolen were for her upcoming wedding and there were things “strewn across” the flat that she had bought for her future husband.
“I am terrified to leave the house,” she said.
“I am terrified to leave just in case someone will come back again. Why us? Why our flat?”
She did not understand why the burglars had taken items of sentimental value such as the locket which had photographs of both her late parents.
The sentimental items, including birthday and Christmas cards from her mother, could never be replaced, she said.
“I feel like they have tainted our wedding day,” she told the court.
She felt that she had to buy another wedding dress because she could not touch the one that was left there.
The couple had both started new jobs but it had been spoiled.
“They have come into our beautiful home,” she said.
“I am absolutely gutted that this has happened in such a lovely place like this.”
Her husband was worried about going to work and leaving her alone.
“I feel like I have failed in protecting my home,” she said.
Gowen had convictions or cautions for handling stolen goods, possessing drugs, failing to take necessary care of animals and failing to provide information to a waste disposal authority.
Richard Thompson, mitigating, said that Gowen was with a more sophisticated burglar but she had not named him, despite being given chances.
She had suffered a drug addiction but had not used heroin for nearly two-and-a-half months but was still spending £30 a week on smoking crack cocaine and was on methadone.
“She is taking steps to try to do things in the right way,” said Mr Thompson.
“At the time of the burglary, she was taking sleeping tablets. She was clearly in the company of somebody who knew what they were doing.
“It’s clear that she had not thought it through but she has now.”
Judge John Thackray QC told Gowen: “This was a very serious burglary which had a profound effect on your victims.
“Some people never recover from dwelling house burglary and I have no doubt that this applies in this case.
“Not only did you steal sentimental and valuable items and, to some extent, ruin the wedding day and wedding plans of your victims but the memories of their wedding day will forever be scarred by the memory of this burglary.
“It was a group offence, you undoubtedly being involved with another person.
“Although it was a group offence, you obviously played a subordinate role.”
Gowen was jailed for two-and-a-half years.