THREE men have been sentenced after a pensioner was threatened with a knife and an axe.
They were part of a gang of four who conspired to break into the home of a 77-year-old man and his wife, 74, following a dispute over an unpaid debt.
Shaun Gaskell, 35, of Maple Crescent, Leigh, had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary and was sentenced to six years in prison at Bolton Crown Court today, Monday.
Wayne Duckworth, 33, of Park Road, Westhoughton, and Raymond Dallimore, 59, of Church Street, Westhoughton, were found guilty after a trial and were sentenced to nine years and 12 and a half years respectively.
The fourth man, Craig Lister, 34, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary at an earlier hearing and will be sentenced in three weeks time.
The attack, which took place at the couple’s home on Dicconson Lane in Bolton on March 28, was orchestrated by Dallimore following a dispute over the unpaid debt between himself and the victim.
The couple were at home when a gang of intruders burst in, knocking the woman to the ground and threatening her husband with a large knife that was pressed against his throat. One of the offenders was also carrying a large axe.
After stealing a number of personal items the couple were violently forced into the bathroom and the man’s arms were tied to the sink before they slammed the door and pushed a heavy item of furniture against it.
In a bid to cover their tracks, the gang also attempted, but failed, to clean up spots of blood by using bleach.
Forensic analysis of the blood identified it as being Lister’s, leading to his arrest. The rest of the offenders were then arrested and telephone analysis later showed the gang conspiring to carry out the burglary.
Detective sergeant Richard Castley from GMP’s Serious and Organised Crime Unit said: “Whatever the motive there can be absolutely no excuse nor justification for subjecting this elderly couple to a terrifying ordeal within the sanctity of their own home.
“They were threatened with a knife, an axe and forcibly imprisoned in their own bathroom while the intruders ransacked their house and understandably were extremely shaken up and distressed for some time afterwards.”
“I hope seeing the offenders convicted and sentenced for their violent actions gives the victims some sense of justice and help them to move forward with their lives knowing this gang is behind bars.”