Psychic fails to foresee jail term for ring thefts

Stratford Observer, UK/July 28, 2011

A self-proclaimed 'internationally renowned psychic' from Stratford did not forsee the outcome when he stole rings worth more than £100,000 from his grandmother.

But predictably Benjamin Hicks, known as ‘Pyschic Ben’ is in jail after pleading guilty to the theft.

The 38-year-old, of Rooks Court, Brewery Street, who has appeared on the internet Sky TV channel Psychic First, was jailed for a year at Warwick Crown Court.

Prosecutor Iain Willis described Hicks’s grandmother Anne Hicks as ‘a lady of some means’ who lives in a substantial property in Stratford and employs a number of staff.

She had three valuable rings which she had owned for a number of years, two of which had been gifts from her late husband including a platinum ring with a 12 carat diamond.

That alone was valued at £200,000 although when Hicks sold it at auction he got half that. The other two rings were gold and worth around £10,000 each which Hicks later handed to the police.

In July 2009 Mrs Hicks was at home when Hicks visited her with his young son and after taking her rings off she discovered they were gone.

Hicks even pretended to help his grandmother search for the rings before it was reported to the police.

An insurance claim was made, but because they were ‘grossly under-insured’ Mrs Hicks received just £77,000.

But Hicks callous actions began to unravel last October when his father received an anonymous phone call telling him about the rings and that his son had brought a £25,000 car.

The most valuable of the three he had stolen had been sold at auction in Birmingham for £100,000.

A former partner of Hicks contacted the police and told them he had been trying to sell them, claiming his grandmother had given them to him as part of his inheritance.

When Hicks was arrested he said he had not taken them on the day they went missing but had found them later and planned to return them, but decided to sell them instead.

Sharon Bailey, defending, pleaded for a suspended sentence.

She said Hicks needed money although, she conceded, not as much as the £100,000 he got for the ring.

But jailing Hicks, Recorder Michael Stephens told him: "There is an element of trust here because of the close family membership. I have read with sadness about how she has felt about the matter. It has made her feel sick to her soul."

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