Robbers dragged disabled pensioner from wheelchair in 'horrific' home raids

Two robbers pulled a cerebral palsy-suffering pensioner from his wheelchair, dragged him along the ground and tied him up to his brother during a terrifying campaign of offending across Derbyshire.

Friday, 10th May 2019, 10:20 am
Brian Spencer has been jailed.

Brian Spencer and his sidekick threatened to kill their victims as they bound them up while carrying out four 'horrendous' crimes.

During the spate, the 46-year-old and his accomplice, who has never been caught, knocked at the doors of homeowners and when they answered forced their way in using violence.

They would then tie the victims up, sometimes using their own clothing, before stealing from them.

A husband and wife, whose Duffield home was one of the four targeted, were bound together so tight they had to knock over their home phone to call a neighbour who had to use a knife to cut them free.

And the brother of the wheelchair-bound victim, who are both in their 70s and live together in Alfreton, was punched to the mouth during the robbery.

Jailing Spencer for nine years and four months, Judge Shaun Smith QC said: “These matters are particularly horrific.

“On each occasion they involved you going to somebody’s house, barging your way in and forcing these people, using violence to the floor.

“You then searched their premises and used items, including some of their own clothing, to tie them together or to other objects and threatening to kill them if they looked at you.

“I cannot imagine anything more horrendous.”

David Webster, prosecuting, said the four robberies – three in Derbyshire and one in Sheffield - took place during December 2017.

The first happened in Cromford Road, Crich, and saw the two robbers barge into the home of a 70-year-old man who had just returned home from having lunch with a friend.

Mr Webster said Spencer and the man tied the man up with his own long johns before stealing £55 and the keys to his wife’s car which was later found abandoned in a car park at Black Rocks, near Cromford.

In a victim impact statement the man, who suffered a stroke a month after the robbery, said he now has “a jaundiced view of other people”.

The second robbery took place in Meadowhead, Sheffield, and involved Spencer and the second man threatening to kill and tying up a couple aged in their 70s before rifling through their home and stealing items.

Mr Webster said the brothers who were the victims in the third robbery lived together in Alfreton.

He said: “One of them has cerebral palsy and is wheelchair bound.

“It was a Sunday afternoon during daylight and there was a knock on their door.

“The one who is wheelchair-bound answered the door and two men forced their way in.

“They dragged him from his wheelchair and somehow got him upstairs and tied him to his brother in a bedroom.

“His brother was punched by one of them men.”

And the Duffield robbery saw Spencer and the second man push their way into a home in Milford Road, where the husband and wife victims lived.

Mr Webster said: “The wife was pushed face down on to her husband and they were told of they moved they would be killed.

“They then used a flew cord from a computer mouse and their own shoelaces to tied them together.

“They were bound so tight they had to push their phone from its casing to call a neighbour who had to cut them free using a knife.”

In their victim impact statement the wife said she “is now frightened to go home to an empty house on her own”.

Mr Webster said Spencer, of Pharoah Road, Matlock, was identified from DNA left on the items of clothing he used to tie each of the victims up.

He pleaded guilty to a number of counts of robbery.

Nicoletta Alistari, mitigating, said at the time her client was in the grips of an addiction to heroin.

She said: “He wants your honour to know he is not a nasty human being despite the facts of the offences.

“He also wants your honour to know he is very sorry indeed and if he could turn the clock back he would.”