Homeless man’s jail plea

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A DOWN-and-out who had hit rock bottom told a court he would be happier going to prison than living on the streets.

Howard Panks, 28, appeared in custody at Hastings Magistrates Court recently after breaching a probation order.

He had been sentenced in January to 12 weeks in prison for driving with excess alcohol and driving while disqualified.

The sentence was suspended on the condition that he completes a supervision order but he failed to attend.

Dean Jinks, from the probation service, said: “He failed to attend appointments or give an explanation for his absence.”

Ronan Crummy, defending, said: “This is a sad situation. He wants a custodial sentence – that is how far he has fallen. He has hit rock bottom.

“When the order was imposed he was in a different situation.

“Now he is homeless.

“He has tried to get accommodation but can’t. He is now living rough.

“He can go to a friend’s house once a day to take a shower and that is all.

“He has no contact with his family and no-one to turn to. His financial situation is dire.

“He was mugged two weeks ago, while sleeping rough and they stole what little he had.

“Four weeks ago he was diagnosed with testicular cancer and is awaiting treatment for that.

“Those circumstances made it very difficult to comply with a community order.”

Magistrates sentenced Panks to 12 weeks in prison.