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A man has admitted to stealing mail from St Mary’s College after entering as a trespasser

The defendant denied stealing from South College on the same day

A man has admitted stealing mail from St Mary’s College, Durham, after trespassing in the college.

Van Elvin Courchene is still to stand trial after denying a second charge that he also entered South College on the same day, intending to also steal mail there, The Northern Echo reports.

Courchene, 44, appeared at Durham Crown Court for a plea hearing on a two-count burglary indictment, relating to his mail theft on 11th February, 2022.

The allegations came after witnesses said they saw the defendant with his hand in the mail box at South College, according to Martin Towers, prosecuting.

St Mary’s College Post Room

Helen Towers, representing Courchene, said that a letter had been submitted to the court concerning the defendant’s Autism Spectrum Disorder (referred to as Asperger’s Syndrome by the defence). Ms Towers therefore said it may prove yet “beneficial” to conduct a further case management pre-trial hearing, and will apply for an intermediary to assist the defendant at trial.

The potential trial will be staged at the Durham Crown Court next year, on Wednesday 20th March, and is estimated to run little over a day in length.

The case management hearing is set for Thursday, 18th January 2024, at which the defendant is bailed to appear at. The conditional bail granted means that Van Elvin Courchene must not enter any premises operated by the university.

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