A thief who stole $40,000 worth of jewels during a 2011 heist has been jailed.
A thief who stole $40,000 worth of jewels during a 2011 heist has been jailed.

Thief in $40k jewellery heist fronts court

A THIEF who stole $40,000 worth of jewellery then went on the run for years has read a heartfelt letter to a judge, saying he was a “changed man”.

Almost nine years ago, Malcolm Danny Prior threatened an employee of a jewellery store and used a rock to smash a glass cabinet before fleeing with the precious loot.

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The 45-year-old faced Brisbane District Court on Tuesday where he pleaded guilty to the robbery that took place in Fortitude Valley on June 10, 2011.

The court was told that after the heist, Prior fled to NSW where he continued to offend.

The jewellery was never recovered.

Prior was caught five years later, but when he was granted bail he went on the run again until the long arm of the law caught him in August last year.

He appeared from jail via videolink and read a letter to the court, saying he had no “reason or excuse” to offer.

“When all of this was happening I felt like I had no purpose and was trying my best to be taken out of this place we call Earth,” he said.

Prior said he would often turn to crime and drugs to cope with tragedies such as the death of his daughter, a HIV diagnosis and losing his younger brother to suicide.

But with the support of his family, he was looking forward to a new start.

“I stand before you for those past actions and deserve the full force of law,” Prior said.

“I also stand before you as a changed man and looking forward to putting this behind me so I can look forward to my new start in life.

“Thank you for letting me read this letter to you all … Stay safe and don’t forget to wash your hands.”

Prior was sentenced to three years’ jail and will be released on parole in six months. – NewsRegional