Fugitive stole Yodel delivery van after violent Devon crime spree

A fugitive Devon man has been jailed for a crime spree that included beating up his girlfriend, dangerous driving and stealing a Yodel parcel delivery van. Harry Kerwick went on the run in 2023 while facing multiple charges.

The 36-year-old from Barnstaple was finally caught and arrested in Kent after a police chase. He was brought back before the a judge in Exeter and sentenced to three years and nine months in prison.

The court was told Kerwick was a bricklayer and roofer who had once owned his own business. His life had spiralled out of control due to drug addiction.

In June 2022 he was in a 'troubled' relationship with a woman, said prosecutor Joss Ticehurst. He assaulted her during an argument about using her car by pushing his thumb into her eyeball, causing a scratch to her cornea.

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She was treated in hospital but when discharged Kerwick hit her in the face with a mobile phone. The assault left her bleeding from the nose.

The most serious assault happened when he placed a lit cigarette against her temple near to her eye, bit her thigh and dragged her by the hair during an argument. Two months later the couple argued about dividing up some crack cocaine and Kerwick spat in the woman's face.

The defendant admitted three charges of battery and one of causing actual bodily harm. Kerwick also pleaded guilty to theft of a van in September 2022. Mr Ticehurst said that he and a second defendant, Donna Cross, also known as Hollands, went to a woman's address and demanded payment of a debt.

They ended up taking her boyfriend's delivery van, which had parcels in the back. Kerwick and Cross, the vehicle, clothing and torn Yodel packaging were found a few days later at a caravan in Ashreigney.

Kerwick was bailed and disappeared in March 2023. In October of last year he was arrested after a police chase in Medway. The driving involved u-turning in the road, driving on the pavement, twice driving the wrong way up a dual carriageway, crashing and running away. At the time he was a disqualified driver.

Lee Bremridge, defending, said: "The man standing here this morning is, by reason of his own efforts and hard work during a long period of remand, a very different man than the one who committed these offences." He said there was a background of mental health issues and he is very sorry.

Cross, aged 41, admitted theft, failure to surrender, and criminal damage. She was given an 18-month suspended sentence with probation rehabilitation days. The court heard the criminal damage happened when she attempted to enforce a debt and kicked a woman's door.

Simon Burns, defending said she has a troubled past and her life was spiralling out of control at the time. She is now getting it back on track.