Groom jailed for robbing his own wedding venue


Christopher Richards, a 25-year-old unemployed labourer from Bacup, Lancashire, had only just married Bridie Sparks, the 24-year-old mother of his two children, when he decided to celebrate by returning to the wedding venue and robbing it.

So what happened, and is this the weirdest wedding crime story?

The theft

According to the Daily Mail, Richards decided to return to the club where they had held their reception, six months later, and steal thousands of pounds worth of alcohol and computers - while causing £20,000 of damage.

The Rossendale Free Press reported that The Bacup Hub club had even provided a half-price reception for the young couple because money was tight. The owner was devastated when she discovered who was behind the raid.

Richards handed himself into police after being caught on CCTV cameras, and the photos appeared in a local newspaper. He was jailed for six months. Judge Jonathan Gibson said: "It was the most dreadful offence of commercial burglary which left the owner devastated. There is clearly evidence of impact to the community. It seems to me it's inevitable there must be a custodial sentence."

Sparks will give birth to their third child while he is behind bars.

Strange tales

It's a horrible tale, and it's hard to imagine why the venue was targeted in this way. However, it seems that weddings and crime are familiar bedfellows - in so many different ways.

Bad behaviour is always a risk, such as the wedding guest in Peebles, who was jailed for 80 days in March, after he threw a glass during a family row.

The bill can also cause tensions. In March, an Australian couple were jailed for three months for refusing to pay for their lavish four-day $52,000 wedding in Victoria, Australia.

And in March last year there was the property developer who started a fire on his wedding night, at the hotel in Cheshire where he had just been married - in a row over the bill.

Even those who pay up, can have a criminal secret. In June last year, a Preston court heard the tale of a bride who had stolen an astonishing £200,000 from her bosses in order to pay for her wedding (among other things). She was jailed for 20 months.

And then of course, there are those for whom the wedding itself is a crime. Last month a Northampton man was jailed for 20 months for bigamy, after marrying a Canadian woman in Las Vegas, and posting photographs on Facebook. He was going through a divorce at the time and told the court he thought it had been completed.
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