Naomi Raaff said she was angry at the sentence doled out to Jason Grant for the theft of three of her rings.
“I came to Britain after my partner was murdered and our farmhouse burnt down,” she said. “The only thing of any value I brought with me was my jewellery. It was the only thing I had left.
“Now I’m living in a first world country and I can’t understand how you can have your next door neighbour steal from you and he’s still going to live there and not be affected.
Mrs Raaff, a British citizen, left Harare, Zimbabwe, after her partner Terry Ford, a farmer, was killed during land grabs in 2002.
She and her three children, Matthew, then aged 15, Lisle, then 12, and Shani, then aged 10, came to Worcester before moving to Stourport-upon-Severn.
Mrs Raaff, aged 50, of Wilden Lane, said 11 rings and necklaces, went missing from her jewellery box between June 27 and July 24.
“The one ring had four Sandswana emeralds which are unique to a particular mine in Zimbabwe,” she said.
“There were gold chains, an amethyst, diamonds and rubies.”
Although not insured, Mrs Raaff, an accountant, believes the jewellery was worth more than £10,000.
Unemployed Grant, aged 30, of Wilden Lane, admitted stealing three rings at Kidderminster Magistrates Court but said he had found them in an alleyway near his home while walking his mother’s dog.
He took the jewellery, which included a ring with emeralds worth £3,000, a ring worth £75 and another emerald ring worth £150, to Harvey’s the Jewellers in Comberton Hill, Kidderminster, where he sold them for £35.
Following the theft Mrs Raaff turned detective and took photographs of the items to the jewellers, where staff confirmed Grant had brought them in and that they had been taken to bullion smelters in Birmingham.
Grant was captured on CCTV driving a silver car to the shop, despite being disqualified for three years for driving with excess alcohol.
Fergus Maxwell, defending, said Grant had no idea the rings belonged to Mrs Raaff when he took them.
“Had he known for one second that this was the position then when having found the property he would have returned it immediately to her,” said Mr Maxwell.
At the hearing Grant also admitted driving while disqualified and without insurance.
He was given an eight-week suspended sentence for the driving offence and was ordered to pay Mrs Raaff £500 compensation. He was also been ordered to do 250 hours of unpaid work and has been disqualified from driving for three years.
Despite the prosecution, Mrs Raaff’s jewellery has not been found and she says she feels let down by the British criminal justice system. SOURCE