Nurse sentenced for 'despicable' Rolex watch theft

Joseph Miller Image copyright Eddie Mitchell
Image caption Joseph Miller admitted stealing the Rolex from David Davies

A nursing manager who stole a Rolex watch from a dying patient has been sentenced.

Joseph Miller, 40, took the £5,000 Submariner watch from 68-year-old David Davies at St Richard's Hospital, Chichester, in August 2014.

Portsmouth Crown Court heard Miller had taken the watch along with his own personal belongings without realising.

He then placed it in a shed for months despite police appeals for the return of the "treasured" family heirloom.

'As low as it gets'

Miller, a married father-of-two, took the watch to be valued at a jeweller's but the police had registered it as stolen and he was later arrested.

He was given a 14-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, fined £7,500 and ordered to pay £500 court costs.

Image copyright Sussex Police
Image caption David Davies's watch was stolen while he was a patient at St Richard's Hospital

Mr Davies' son, John, said in a witness statement: "I cannot begin to say how much stress and horror this caused my family.

"To have a watch taken from my father as he is dying is as low as it gets."

Mr Davies was taken to the accident and emergency department and died after suffering a heart attack.

'Shamed, ignominious end'

Prosecutor Jonathan Underhill said Miller, of Walberton in West Sussex, had "breached a high degree of trust".

"This particular watch was very much treasured by Mr Davies and he had made promises about its future to his son," he said.

Sarah Jones, mitigating, said Miller had been suffering stress. She said his own father died of cancer shortly after the theft, followed by his mother and then grandmother.

"He has resigned from a 17-year career in nursing; 20 years with the NHS has come to a shamed ignominious end," she added.

Jude Roger Hetherington described Miller's actions as "despicable, mean, shocking and disgraceful."

He added: "This was devious behaviour but you were not in need of money, you were not acting out of financial greed, you were acting in a strange way and out-of-character, your motivation is unclear.

"The emotional stress you were under at the time may have been a factor but it does not fully explain what you did. It remains, in my mind, a bit of a mystery."

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