THE double life of a criminal was revealed today.
Last week, a judge labelled Huddersfield man Paul Higgins a "career criminal" before handing out a life sentence.
Higgins, 36, of Leeds Road, Bradley Mills, was found with a loaded handgun in his car and, because of previous offences, he received an automatic life sentence.
But his former partner and their two daughters know the other side of him.
Higgins is a talented artist.
Clare Alexander, 46, of West Street, Lindley, admits the father of her two daughters is no angel.
She said: "All the time I have known him he has been in and out of prison, mainly for theft and burglary.
"But last time he was in he started painting. While he was inside he did an A-level in art and got an A grade.
"He had always drawn a bit, but I never realised he was as talented as he is," added Clare. "When I saw what he had done I was quite shocked. He has his own quite unique style."
Clare is convinced that if Higgins's talent had been spotted when he was younger he might not have turned to crime.
Now, she is determined that her two daughters - Nicole, 18, and Ella, 12 - stay on the straight and narrow.
"They have seen what prison does to a person and to a family," she said. "If Paul had been given the support to pursue his art at a young age his life could have been very different.
"Even if the first time he had come out of prison there had been something for him to aim for he might have changed.
"He would be brilliant at going to schools and telling them about art, but also about his life. He could warn youngsters about getting involved in crime. But now he has been in and out of prison so many times it is just normal to him."
Clare said Ella was already proving to be a budding artist.