THE son of a murdered woman has been jailed for stealing thousands of pounds worth of Jaguar Land Rover car parts from his workplace to sell on to clear a drugs debt.

Sheldon Heppell, son of murdered Melanie Clark who was stabbed to death by her husband, was jailed for eight months for stealing parts from JLR Parts UK in Stoke Prior, near Bromsgrove when he appeared at Worcester Crown Court yesterday.

The 24-year-old of Bromsgrove who worked in a position of trust in the warehouse stole the parts between February 1 and May 28, 2019 and helped himself to cash from the till.

Mrs Clark was murdered by her husband David, Heppell’s step-father, who was jailed for 15 years last July.

The court heard the items were valued at £7,708 but with a sale price of £9,494 as they sold for more than the company paid for them. On one calculation the company claimed the loss was more than £30,000.

Michael Conry, prosecuting, said the defendant had been unable to sell two multi entertainment screens, one recovered from his home address and the other from a BMW parked outside. “He became involved in these thefts to repay a drugs debt (£800). Unfortunately he lost his mother in the most violent of circumstances” said Mr Conry.

The court heard he put the stolen items in big bags so they appeared to be rubbish and a van was used to take them away. The thefts took place on three occasions.

Lee Egan, defending, said: “He expresses remorse and shame about what he has done.”

Mr Egan also said, after the thefts were discovered, Heppell was ‘picked up and taken against his will to Bournemouth and his telephone taken from him.’

Heppell was of previous good character and entered a guilty plea at an early stage.

Mr Egan also argued there was a realistic prospect of rehabilitation and mitigation in ‘the tragic circumstances of his mother’s death.’

Judge Nicolas Cartwright said: “The company was very supportive of you when your mother was tragically killed. They were prepared to allow you four months off paid leave.”

He told Heppell he had been entrusted with a key and that the thefts were ‘a gross breach of the trust they placed in you.’

The second and third occasions he stole from the company were ‘stealing to order’ to pay off a drugs debt. The judge said it was an irony that the company would have helped him with that debt had he asked for it but told Heppell: “You didn’t ask, you helped yourself to their property.”

“A lot of people lose loved ones in tragic circumstances without going on to run up a drugs debt” he said.

The judge said there was a need for a deterrent sentence, jailing him for eight months.