Man who stole from lover under house arrest

2014-09-24 08:56
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Cape Town - A man who disappeared with jewellery worth R85 917, stolen from his lover, was sentenced to three years' house arrest on Tuesday, when he pleaded guilty to theft in the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court.

Steven Billington, 43, of Claremont in Cape Town, also pleaded guilty to stealing equipment worth R14 000 from his former employer, Cradle Technologies.

In addition to the house arrest, he was given a five-year suspended prison sentence.

He was sentenced in plea-bargain proceedings, before Magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg.

According to the plea-bargain document, he started a romantic relationship with victim Natasha Wilmot in September last year, and the same month moved into her home.

They lived together for about six months, until Billington disappeared without explanation, and kept his cellphone switched off.

The victim's aunt, Daphne Hildebrant, also stayed with the couple briefly, and when she left she discovered that her two valuable earrings as well as an unspecified amount in British currency were missing.

Soon afterwards, Wilmot discovered that she too was missing jewellery and British currency that she had kept in a safe.

Wilmot reported the thefts to the police, after Billington denied any knowledge or involvement.

Wilmot, meanwhile, did her own private investigation, to find that two gold dealers in Claremont, three Cash Crusaders outlets and one Cash Convertors had recently bought jewellery from Billington, as well as weeding equipment that Wilmot had stored in her garage.

In the plea document, prosecutor Thersia du Toit-Smit states that Billington started stealing from Wilmot in September last year, "while their relationship was still new".

Defence attorney Mike Jennings pointed out that Billington had given Wilmot a car as compensation, which she had sold for R8 000.

Billington has to pay back the value of the items stolen, to Wilmot, Hildebrant and Cradle Technologies, in monthly instalments, as a condition of his suspended prison sentence.

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

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