Monday, 24th July 2017
Ex-Hammer spared jailed for 'treasure hunt'
Filed: Friday, 14th July 2017
Author: Staff Writer
A former West Ham United star has avoided a custodial sentence for burglary - despite being caught red-handed.
Shaun Newton, who West Ham famously signed from Charlton for just £10,0000 - thus earning him the nickname 10k during his spell at the club in the late 1990s - was nicked attempting to steal a set of keys from a flat in Mitcham, Surrey.
However the former England Under 21 - who was said to be both under the influence of alcohol and illegal drugs at the time of his arrest - avoided prison as a result of telling the jury that he believed he was on a 'treasure hunt' at the time.
"It was a long weekend," he told Bow Court. "I was tired and disorientated and confused by the tricks that were played on me at the time.
"I was led to believe there was a car, a Range Rover or whatever, and I was hunting for it. I pulled apart my whole house looking for keys. There were things in my house leading me to number plates, stuff like that and I was led to believe I had to do certain things like break glass."
Newton - whose legal representative told the court that his client lives "a day-to-day, hand-to-mouth existence" - was given 100 hours' community service by Recorder Ian Peddle QC, who stressed that he was lucky nothing had actually been stolen during the break-in.
"Itís clear you were high on cocaine and alcohol and maybe thatís why you committed the burglary," he said. "Fortunately nothing was taken and in the witness box you gave a bizarre account of your actions, enough to cause the jury and myself to be concerned about your mental health."