Four men from Leeds have today (30 September 2016) been sentenced to over 60 years’ imprisonment by Bradford Crown Court after being found guilty of conspiracy to commit robbery following an attack on a couple in their Knaresborough home, leaving one of their victims with serious stab wounds.
Joel Richard Hutchinson, 30, and Lewis Jordan Walker, 29, were both sentenced to 13 years and seven months imprisonment, Jason Henriques 25, and Shelby Bruce, 24, were both sentenced to 16 years imprisonment.
Hutchinson and Walker had pleaded guilty at the start of the trial on Tuesday 20 September. Henriques, Bruce and a fifth man were found guilty on Thursday 29 September following the trial.
The fifth gang member will be sentenced at a later date.
Bruce was given an additional year in prison after punching a co-defendant in court and Walker received an extra four months for spitting at another gang member during the proceedings.
On the night of 14 May 2015, three men – Walker, Bruce and Henriques – entered a house on Lands Lane, Knaresborough by throwing a boulder through a downstairs window.
They confronted and attacked the home owners – a man in his forties and a woman in her thirties –who were upstairs, and demanded they handed over jewellery.
The man fought back and was stabbed in his leg, arm, face and hand, suffering deep cuts which needed extensive hospital treatment. They also grabbed his wife by the hair and threatened her before fleeing the house with a substantial amount of jewellery.
Following an extensive police investigation which involved protracted analysis of mobile phones, Automatic Number Plate Recognition images and CCTV, the five offenders were arrested in the months following the robbery.
Speaking after sentencing, Detective Chief Inspector Dave Ellis, said:
This was a shocking attack in which the victim showed great courage in trying to defend his wife and his home. Both victims suffered a terrifying ordeal and I hope the jailing of those responsible gives them a small amount of comfort.
The investigation was very complex and painstaking but technology enabled us to piece together the movements of all five suspects, putting them either at the scene of the attack or involved in the planning of it. I am pleased with the sentences handed out, which means that four very dangerous individuals have been taken off the streets for a long time. We now await the future sentencing of the remaining defendant with interest.
Following sentencing, Judge Bartfield commended the victims for their bravery and the investigation team for their professionalism, noting the key role played by modern technology in tracking the defendants.