I can help you turn your life round
Reporter: MARINA BERRY
Date online: 21 February 2013
Dad’s plea to burglar
A REFORMED crook has offered to help turn round the life of a burglar who could have left his daughter crippled.
And the Failsworth community has stumped up a £3,000 reward for anyone with information leading to a conviction.
Cherelle Cooper (24) was woken in the early hours of January 27 by a window smashing at her home in Coronation Road.
When her father, Simon Cooper, understood her panicked plea for help and that the burglar was still in the house, he told her to climb out of the window to safety. As she leaned out, she was pushed from behind and landed heavily on the stone path beneath.
“Adrenaline made her get up and run,” said Simon (41). “I found her shivering and barefoot a few streets away in Norfolk Crescent with a broken toe and bruised legs. The hospital said she was lucky to have escaped with the injuries she had. She could have been crippled.”
The attack made Simon angry: “The psychological impact is the worst. We will get through this, but my worry is he will do it again and wreck not only the lives of his victims but also his own.
“He needs help - and I am willing to offer that help. If he gets away with it he will do it again, and that’s scary,” he said.
Simon was a drug addict and petty criminal and served time as a young man. Five years ago he turned his life round after seeing the damage it was doing to his family.
But he needed help, he admits.
“I had friends who had died through drugs or been maimed by gangs. It wasn’t the life I wanted.”
Football coach Simon started to work with the Stockport County youth team and was later offered a job with Manchester City, working with young people, many from difficult backgrounds. He also heads recruitment for Accrington Stanley.
“I had a CRB check, they knew my background yet they gave me a second chance,” he said. “They believed in me and my desire to start afresh. I believe I can help the man who broke into my daughter’s house in the same way.
“People say I’m potty offering help to someone who has done this to my daughter, but I have worked with the toughest ex-convicts and I know about the power of forgiveness and change. This person has to be caught and punished, but I forgive him. He needs help.”
Simon says his daughter is proud of his actions: “She trusts me because she saw what happened to me and how I was given a second chance,” he said. “It’s a lot of hard work and you have to live your life by the law, but if I can do it, anyone can.”
Simon was offered £3,000 reward money when he posted an account of his daughter’s ordeal on Facebook to warn other householders.
Anyone with any information can contact police on the non-emergency number 101, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800-555111.
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