Sentence extended for thieving cleaner after he intimidated a juror

Written by Neil Goodwin on .


A thieving cleaner who intimidated a juror minutes after he had been found guilty following a trial has had a month added to his jail term.

Danny Avis was on the phone standing outside Swindon Crown Court as members of the panel who had just convicted him left the building.

As they walked past on Wednesday October 10 the 26-year-old was heard saying 'The w****** are in front of me now, they can all go f*** themselves'.

And he then lifted his phone up and pointed it at them as if filming them, which caused one so much distress it was immediately reported to court staff.

Now Avis of The Lees, Mildenhall, near Marlborough, has been brought back before the judge where he admitted a charge of criminal contempt of court.

Richard Williams, defending, said his client was upset at being found guilty and in an emotional state as he was 'staring down the barrel of a custodial sentence'.

He said he was talking to his girlfriend by video call on his mobile and, while he admits he swore, he insists he neither filmed or photographed a juror.

Mr Williams said he was doing his first custodial sentence and was finding it difficult, being incarcerated in Nottinghamshire and not due for release until late August.

Judge Jason Taylor QC said "Whatever your motive, you intimidated one of them sufficiently so that it was brought to my attention by court staff.

"I accept you did not actively follow the juror. I accept what you did was in the heat of the moment when your emotions would have been raw.

"Jurors must be protected.  They provide a vital public service.  There must be no hint of intimidation towards them,"

He added 28 days to the two-and-a-half year sentence he handed down in October after he was found guilty of two counts of theft.

Avis was on his second day at work a friend's family business when he helped himself to expensive jewellery from the two houses he was helping clean.

At the first property, in East Grafton, he took a diamond ring worth almost £80,000 along with a bracelet and watch.

Then in the afternoon he pinched an engagement ring with immense sentimental value from a family home in Burbage.

During the trial the jury of eight men and four women heard he had been convicted of stealing from work in 2015, again on his second day.

Avis insisted he had not taken anything and none of the items were ever recovered.