In the Media

Teenage tearway is back behind bars

PUBLISHED September 4, 2006

A notorious teenage tearaway is back behind bars in a young offenders' institution after burgling a house and walking off with a haul worth more than ?2500.

Gary Bowgen, who has a string of previous convictions dating back seven years including burglary, assault and threatening behaviour, was jailed at Norwich Crown Court on Thursday after admitting the latest offence.

Judge Paul Downes told him "You have done this once too often" after hearing he had spent his life wreaking havoc across Norwich and had several previous convictions for burglary.

He added: "You have quite an appalling record and you have committed three house burglaries. This is a very serious matter and has a terrible effect on householders whose homes are broken into."

Bowgen pleaded guilty to burgling a house in Judges Walk in Norwich on January 30 and taking property worth ?2,689. Police found the teenager's fingerprints inside and he was arrested.

Charles Kellett, mitigating, said the problem was that Bowgen did not know when to stop drinking and the offence had been unplanned.

The 18-year-old who lives in The Avenues in Norwich first appeared in court in 1999 when he was just 11 for stealing a vehicle.

Four months later he was convicted of burglary, criminal damage and breach of a conditional discharge.

Later the same year he was convicted of threatening behaviour, handling stolen goods and breach of a supervision order.

He then hit the headlines in April 2000 when he was made subject to the first anti social behaviour order in Norwich.

Along with a gang of four, he was banned from harassing or intimidating people across the whole of the city council area or causing deliberate nuisance.

But three months later he was hauled back before the bench accused of theft and breach of the anti social behaviour order.

In October 2000 he was convicted of handling stolen goods; in March 2001 of common assault, shoplifting and breach of a conditional discharge; in June 2001 he was jailed for eight months for house burglary and a string of other offences.

In August 2003 he burgled a non dwelling and in April this year he was given a community order again for burglary.

His criminal record ranks him among the most prolific young offenders in Britain and he has consistently ignored punishments issued by city courts by breaching court orders and bail conditions.

His notoriety grew when in October 2002 at the age of 14 he fled Norwich Youth Court seconds after being sentenced to 10 month's detention and training after admitting two theft charges, threatening behaviour and driving while banned and without insurance.

He launched a foul-mouthed tirade at the bench and after he was led down to the cells gave court officials the slip by vanishing through an unlocked door.

The police helicopter was scrambled but without success. He was eventually arrested several days later.