Gang behind violent armed raid gets 34 years in jail

A gang of violent armed raiders who held up a convenience store have been jailed for 34 years in total.

Tuesday, 17th April 2018, 4:23 pm
Updated Tuesday, 17th April 2018, 4:31 pm
David Dargan
David Dargan

Police were able to capture the quartet, following the attack on Atherton's McColl’s store, who were also wanted for a string of bank robberies across Greater Manchester.

Between them Richard Smith and Patrick McDonagh, both 37, were responsible for cash snatches totalling £200,000, as they targeted security van deliveries. David Dargan, 32, and John Groom, 35, joined them later for the McColl’s attack.

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John Groom

But their luck ran out following the Atherton raid, last August, when all four were eventually arrested near a turn-off for the M61.

Investigators say the gang turned up at the Car Bank Road shop armed with a sledgehammer and crowbar. One worker was punched in the face repeatedly, before the robbers fled with just a small amount of cash and stamps.

Even though they tried to switch getaway cars on at least two occasions, police tracked them down to junction four of the M61.

McDonagh was arrested close by but Dargan, Groom and Smith attempted to carjack a Toyota Yaris from an elderly male driver. The trio were unsuccessful and were detained nearby.

John Groom

Dargan, a Salford man of no fixed address, Groom, of Manchester Road, Worsley, McDonagh, of Ridge Crescent, Whitefield, and Smith, of Pegwell Drive, Lower Broughton, admitted to the Atherton robbery and carjacking.

Smith and McDonagh also confessed to being part of a wider robbery conspiracy. One attack on Halifax Bank in Sale, in February, saw £195,000 stolen from guards.

Tens of thousands of pounds were also stolen in similar incidents at banks in Oldham and Stockport.