Burglary gang member jailed - Luton

28/02/2013

A 60-year-old man was knocked out with a club, then woken up and forced to reveal the PIN to his bank card, which was used at shops in Luton. William Mealy suffered a shattered jaw in the attack, which happened after three masked men forced their way into his former home in Wilsden Avenue, Farley Hill in the town.

One of the men picked up the wooden club, which the victim had on his wall, and knocked him unconscious. He was brought round again by the gang who demanded his PIN number.

At first, Luton Crown Court was told today, Thursday, 28 February 2013, Mr Mealy gave them the wrong number. More threats were made and he gave the men the correct number before they escaped in his Omega car.

Thirty minutes later the bank card had been used at the Co-op on Farley Hill, the Sri Lanken shop in Bury Park, and at McDonalds in the town centre.

Shaun Gribben, then 19, was identified from CCTV from the shops as he used the card.

Mr Mealy suffered a shattered jaw, which needed four metal plates inserted. He had a cut above his eye and needed seven or eight stitches to his mouth.

Gribben, now 20, of Faringdon Road, Luton was convicted of burglary, grievous bodily harm and taking a vehicle.  He admitted using the card.

Stuart Sprawson, defending, gave the judge two letters; one from Gribben's Uncle and the other from his girlfriend, with whom he has a young son.

He said the man who had picked up and used the club on the victim was referred to as the "spotty man" and had not been identified.

Gribben had played a subordinate role in the house, but had been sent out to use the card where he was picked up on CCTV. "He is a patsy who used the card. He took the risk of being identified by cameras, which he was."

Jailing Gribben for eight years, Judge Richard Foster told him: "This was a shocking offence. You and those you were with clearly targeted Mr Mealy, knowing he would be alone.

"There was pre planning. You and your group went into the house. Mr Mealy was knocked to the floor. His bank card was stolen and PIN number extracted."

In addition to the physical damage, he said Mr Mealy would have suffered psychological injury.

The judge accepted that Gribben's role had been subordinate. He said he was naive because he was the one who was caught on CCTV using the bank card.

Nobody else has been charged in connection with the attack on Mr Mealy.

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