Career criminal banged up for raid on lightning strike home

Richard Werner's house was struck by lightning in August last year. Picture: Greg Macvean
Richard Werner's house was struck by lightning in August last year. Picture: Greg Macvean
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A THIEF who targeted a home being repaired after a freak lightning strike has been jailed.

William Williams broke into music boss Richard Werner’s home and recording studio and made off with eight prized guitars worth around £2000.

Career criminal Williams, 31, also stole harmonicas, whisky and treasured classic vinyl records from the house during the raid earlier this year.

Mr Werner’s Edinburgh home was struck by lightning in August last year and for the past seven months workmen have been paying daily visits to repair the damage.

Mr Werner, who also runs his B&B Studios from the property, has previously suggested he may have been targeted because of the repair work being carried out.

The vinyl records, which Mr Werner inherited after his father passed away, included original copies of classic albums by Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, The Beatles and Led Zeppelin. Williams pleaded guilty to entering Mr Werner’s home and stealing guitars, harmonicas, whisky and vinyl records on May 5 during an appearance at Edinburgh Sheriff Court yesterday.

The court was told Williams was spotted by a neighbour as he walked along a garage roof next to Mr Werner’s home, but thought he must have been a workman.

The theft was not discovered until the next day when Mr Werner returned to the property after spending the night away.

Williams, from the Capital, was subsequently caught on a neighbour’s CCTV system and was quickly identified by 
police officers.

He also admitted a series of further housebreaking charges including stealing £4400 worth of goods from a home in the city’s Royal Crescent and £2732 worth of jewellery from a home in Silverknowes, all in March this year.

The crook also pleaded guilty to stealing laptops, credit cards and various items from an Edinburgh home, to dishonestly taking a total of £1500 from an ATM machine on eight separate occasions and possessing a quantity of heroin, all on April 9 this year.

Among the haul taken by Williams from the houses he entered were an emerald and diamond ring, a Tag Heuer watch and a Mont Blanc fountain pen.

Sheriff Kenneth Maciver told Williams: “The crimes you have indulged in are serious ones and it is clear you are a career criminal. I am not prepared to put the public at further risk.

“Housebreaking is a nasty crime and involves people unable to feel safe in their own homes. You are a repeat offender and you do this all the time.”

Sheriff Maciver jailed Williams for a total of 43 months, 15 of which is attributed to an unexpired portion of a 
previous 42-month sentence imposed in 2012.

newsen@edinburghnews.com