Jilted army hero avoids jail after burglary

COURT: Former soldier James Mackie
COURT: Former soldier James Mackie
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A jilted former Army hero burgled his ex-partner and stole her wedding ring to her late husband.

James Mackie, 52, was made an MBE for his service with the Corps of Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in Bosnia.

However, the former corporal has now narrowly avoided jail after admitting burglary.

Mackie, of Lancashire Drive, Buckshaw Village, met the widow online in 2012, but she brought their year-long romance to an end last year.

Preston Crown Court heard Mackie tried to visit the mum-of-two as she attended church, sent her text messages, and delivered cards, confectionery and other households goods to her home.

Police, who were alerted when she discovered possessions were missing, found shoes and a passport he had stolen from her when they searched his garage.

Mackie has admitted burgling the mum-of-two and earlier this year he was also convicted of slashing her tyres, which led to a restraining order being imposed.

The woman, who is too scared to be named, said: “It has been relentless.

“Every time I thought it had calmed down it started again. It was emotionally exhausting.

“He turned up when I was going to church – at first I thought it was a coincidence.

“All I did was end a relationship. I wasn’t happy at how I was being treated, I knew I deserved better.

“It has been scary, knowing he has been in my home.

“He stole things to get a reaction out of me. To me it was terrifying, but for my children it was awful – they didn’t ask for any of this.”

Mackie was awarded an MBE in 1995 for his service in Bosnia, where he kept mountainous routes open for aid convoys.

Prosecuting Lee Bonner said: “The relationship was good for the first year and during the relationship she had given him keys to her address

“The couple’s problems came to a head when on October 8, 2014, she couldn’t get hold of him and in a text message she effectively ended the relationship and asked for her keys back.

“Two days later she discovered her black leather jacket was missing.

“She decide to have the locks changed so he could no longer access her house. The next day he went to the house and returned the keys.”

The prosecutor said on October 19 the victim went on holiday for a week, and when she returned she found more property missing.

Earlier this year Mackie was convicted of slashing her tyres and was given a restraining order by magistrates.

Defending, Camille Morland said he had been diagnosed with symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder and depression, after regularly coming across distressing situations in the Army.

She said: “He is not a well man. He has acted entirely out of character.

“On one occasion the defendant was involved in a situation where a vehicle was blown up in a minefield – he suffered severe burns and was intensive care for weeks. Following this tour of duty, he was given a commendation and an MBE for gallantry.”

Mackie was given a 12-month jail term, suspended for two years, and must pay £1,000 compensation, £500 costs, and a £100 surcharge.

Judge Mark Brown said: “There is much about this case that causes me considerable concern. Your conduct was quite unforgivable. You behaved towards her in a cowardly, bullying and controlling fashion – a very different person to the sort of individual who had displayed such gallantry in Bosnia.”