Vicar prays for 'new direction' for thief who stole late wife's jewellery

Rev Simon Harvey

The vicar who challenged a burglar stealing his late wife's jewellery said he hoped the man would "find a new direction" in prison.

Rev Simon Harvey of St Mary's Islington in London managed to take a photo of a man in his house, who he later realised had stolen jewellery that belonged to his late wife.

He took the picture and posted the image on Twitter. The thief was arrested five days later.

James Casey, 39, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to burglary at Blackfriars Crown Court and has been jailed for three years. After serving a year and a half he will be due for release on licence. 

"I really want to thank the police who found the burglar so quickly and all those members of the public who helped them," said Harvey.

"I hope that as he begins his sentence he will have an opportunity to make some changes in his life.

"I believe people can find a new direction."

Harvey had been married to Jennifer, who died suddenly earlier this year, for 29 years. 

Casey stole his late wife's engagement and wedding rings, an eternity ring and a ring he gave her when she was 18.

Casey "needs to know how hurtful it is to lose these precious things I thought I'd keep for ever," Harvey told the Standard.