Homeless man who used stolen bank cards in Hatfield and St Albans wants to go to prison

PUBLISHED: 08:00 16 November 2018

Thomas De-Castle-Lynne was found guilty at St Albans Crown Court. Picture: Danny Loo

Thomas De-Castle-Lynne was found guilty at St Albans Crown Court. Picture: Danny Loo


A man convicted for using stolen bank cards in St Albans and Hatfield says he wants to go to prison.

John Fitzgerald, 41, of no fixed abode, was at St Albans Crown Court today to be sentenced for drug possession, having a knife in public, dangerous driving and theft.

Fitzgerald said through defence barrister Bernard Eaton: “I have got no support, nowhere to live and nobody to rely upon.

“I could not manage in such a situation and I need to be in prison so I can get myself absolutely clear-headed.”

On May 23 2017, Fitzgerald was involved in buying goods from a Hatfield Co-Op and a top-up card for a mobile and fuel from a BP garage in St Albans using a bank card which had been stolen from a car.

On May 29 of that year, Fitzgerald was involved in a high-speed police chase starting at London Colney shopping centre.

He reached speeds of 50mph in 30mph zones in a stolen Vauxhall Corsa which often swerved into oncoming traffic.

Charles Judge, for the prosecution, said Fitzgerald showed a “deliberate disregard for the safety of others”.

The ten-minute pursuit ended off of Hazeldine Road in London Colney, when Fitzgerald attempted to escape the pursuing police car on foot.

Fitzgerald was found hiding in a bush and was arrested. Police found diamorphine on him as well as the keys for the car he travelled to the BP garage in.

On September 13, 2018, he was identified by CCTV after using a bank card stolen from a guest at The White Hart in St Albans to spend £28.89 in Tesco and £34.04 in McDonald’s.

In October, Fitzgerald was stopped by police between Harpenden and Redbourn and they found a number of bank cards on him, which Fitzgerald claimed to have found on the floor.

One of the cards had been in a motor vehicle that was stolen from Redbourn.

Police also found a knife, which Fitzgerald claimed he used for fishing.

Fitzgerald has 23 previous offences, dating back to 1994, including for theft, fraud, driving offences and possession of controlled substances.

Mr Eaton noted that there were gaps in his offending when life was good for Fitzgerald, such as when he was in a relationship and seeing his children regularly.

Before being remanded in custody for this latest offences, Fitzgerald was supporting himself by begging and stealing and was using drugs on a relatively high-basis.

Mr Eaton said Fitzgerald had told him: “I know if I had not been remanded in custody, I would be dead now.”

Fitzgerald is due to be sentenced later today.

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