MOST of the time when criminals are being sentenced, they bring a bag of clothes in case they are sent to prison.

In the event they are not jailed, judges hand out suspended prison sentences if the custodial sentence is up to two years long (or six months in Magistrates’ courts).

These sentences are put in place for a period of time often ranging from six months to two years, depending on the severity of the offence.

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For example, a shoplifter could be handed a six-month prison sentence suspended for 18 months -- meaning they will not go to jail but could be put behind bars if they activate their suspended sentence by re-offending again within the next year-and-a-half.

The idea behind suspended sentences is to give the offender a chance to stay out of trouble, according to the Sentencing Council.

But in Berkshire, there have been a number of criminals jailed over the past six months after they re-offended and activated their original suspended sentence.

Here are their names and their crimes.

James Dyer, who committed a string of sexual offences just days before he was spared prison for a 2018 pizza cutter attack, was jailed in August by the same judge who let him walk free earlier this year.

The 34-year-old, formerly of Longs Way, sent three videos of himself masturbating to girls aged 14 and 16 before grabbing a woman’s bottom and asking her for sex after she got into her car in April 2021.

Dyer sent two of the videos on April 10 and April 16 to two girls he did not know. He also committed the sexual assault on April 16.


James Dyer pictured walking free from court on April 23.

James Dyer pictured walking free from court on April 23.


These incidents came just days before he was sentenced at Reading Crown Court for a 2018 attack on his neighbour in which he launched at her with a pizza cutter.


Sentencing him on April 23, 2021, Judge Edward Burgess spared Dyer jail time as he suffers from paranoid schizophrenia.

Speaking at the April sentencing, Judge Burgess said: “Given the direct link between paranoid schizophrenia and offending, it would be counterproductive to send you to prison, given you would be much more likely to offend again.”

Yet on May 1, 2021, Dyer sent another video of himself masturbating to a 14-year-old girl he had spoken to before, having been interviewed by police about the previous incidents in the two days prior.

Appearing in court before the same Judge in court again on August 25, Dyer was handed a tougher sentence by His Honour Judge Burgess.

Judge Burgess sentenced Dyer to two years and six months behind bars after he admitted to three counts of sending indecent or offensive electronic communications with intent to cause stress or anxiety, common assault and sexual assault.

Andrew Gainey, 33, of Northway, Newbury, stole a Henry Hoover worth £139.99 from Robert Dyas in Newbury on November 9, 2020.

This came ten months after he was handed a suspended sentence for four counts of theft in Newbury in 2019.

Gainey was originally sentenced for stealing coats and handbags from TK Maxx as well as meat from Tesco more than two years ago.

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But his vacuum-pinching last year meant his suspended sentence was activated and he was jailed for eight weeks for the November 2020 theft.

He appeared at Reading Magistrates’ Court on May 27.

Daniel Beechey, 44, of St Georges Avenue, Newbury, beat a police officer in Newbury on January 1, 2021.

This was five months after he was handed a suspended sentence for beating a different police officer and damaging a police car in April 2020.

Following a hearing at Reading Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, August 11, Beechey was jailed for ten weeks after his original suspended sentence was activated.

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He was also told to pay a £128 victim surcharge.

Samantha O’Grady, of Stoke Poges Lane, Slough, stole fragrances worth £664.75 from Camp Hopson in Newbury on September 25, 2021, having stolen clothing worth £830.85 from the same store five days earlier.

On February 5, 2021, she was given a suspended sentence for stealing food worth £220 from M&S and electric razors worth £514.99 from Boots in Bracknell on April 23, 2020.

The suspended sentence was also ordered after O’Grady stole:

  • Meat worth £608 from M&S in Maidenhead in April 2020
  • Fragrances worth £119 from Superdrug in Maidenhead in November 2020
  • A giftset and headphones worth £220 from Superdrug in Maidenhead in September 2020
  • Giftsets and bathroom accessories worth £160 from Superdrug in Maidenhead in September 2020.

Her September 2021 offending activated her suspended sentence and she was jailed for 17 weeks following a court hearing at Reading Magistrates’ Court last month.

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Raquel Brown, 50, of The Ring, Bracknell, destroyed two wine glasses and a wardrobe door to the value of £75 in August 2021.

Six months earlier, in February 2021, she was handed a suspended sentence for a string of offences, including:

  • Two counts of common assault
  • One count of possession of a blade or knife
  • Two counts of assault of an emergency worker
  • Three counts of religiously aggravated harassment
  • One count of theft from a shop
  • And one count of criminal damage

Following her August wine-glass destruction, Brown was jailed for 22 weeks after her suspended sentence was activated.

Robin Larkin, 38, of Sulhamstead Hill, Reading, harassed a woman in Basingstoke despite being prohibited from contacting her via a restraining order.

This offence came in June 2021 -- just six months after Basingstoke Magistrates’ Court imposed a suspended sentence for a series of similar offences.

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In October 2020 Larkin contacted the same woman online and visited two properties he was banned from entering.

The most recent offence activated his suspended sentence and he was jailed for 12 weeks following a court hearing in June.

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