Adam Day, 40, was found guilty of breaking into a terraced house in Sudbury, Suffolk, in October 1992, but has walked out of court a free man
A remorseful burglar who handed himself in after almost 20 years on the run has walked free.
Adam Day, 40, who last night admitted giving himself up had been a massive relief, told Ipswich Crown Court he was a reformed character who now cared for his frail mother.
Day was found guilty of breaking into a terraced house in Sudbury, Suffolk, in October 1992.
Robert Sadd, prosecuting, said Day had been arrested for the burglary, during which a £300 video recorder was stolen, after his fingerprint was found at the scene.
He was bailed and told to return to court for sentencing. But instead panic-stricken Day fled to London where he slept in a camper van and stayed with friends the court heard yesterday.
He then returned to his parents' home in Acton, west London in 1997 after his father had a devastating stroke.
Day has lived there ever since believing he had got away with the crime. When he discovered there was still a warrant out for his arrest he gave himself up.
Judge John Devaux gave him a 12-month jail sentence suspended for 18 months and told him to pay £200 costs for burglary and absconding.
He said: 'It doesn't appear the police tried very hard to find you as during all these years in Suffolk you haven't been arrested and eventually you handed yourself in.'
Day said after the hearing he was hugely relieved his crime had been dealt with at last.
New person: Day told Ipswich Crown Court he was a reformed character who now cared for his frail 83-year-old mother
He added he had turned his life around and was now looking after his 83-year-old mother following his father's death in 2009.
Day said: 'It was a different person who was in court back then.'
He added he is now hoping to start a new college course in April and try to get a job.