Men jailed following attack on grandfather - Cheshunt

26/01/2015

Two men and a woman appeared at St Albans Crown Court on Friday, 23 January 2015, and were jailed for a combined total of 39 years 9 months in connection with a violent burglary in Cheshunt last year.

The incident occurred at around 12.30am on Tuesday, 13 May at a property in Penton Drive, Cheshunt. The resident, who is the grandfather of one of the offenders, Jack Sibley, was woken in the night by intruders.

He armed himself with a decorative knife and went onto the landing to investigate.  He was set upon by the two intruders, who disarmed him, assaulted him with the knife and pushed him head first down the stairs.

The two intruders then made off and fled back to Stevenage, empty handed. A neighbour heard the victim calling for help and went to help him. He found the victim at the foot of the stairs in a pool of blood and with serious injuries and called the emergency services.

The victim, who was aged 82 at the time of the incident, received significant injuries, which included multiple cuts to his scalp and face, a stab wound to the chest and the loss of a finger. He almost lost a second finger, and also had a dislocated shoulder and facial fractures.

The knife used in the burglary was later found dumped in Great Wymondley.

All three were found guilty of various offences on 23 December 2014.

Jack Sibley, aged 21, of Jessop Road, Stevenage was found guilty of conspiracy to rob, causing grievous bodily harm (GBH) with intent, and doing an act intended to pervert the course of justice by burning the balaclava and gloves he had worn on the night of the incident.  He had previously admitted doing an act intended to pervert the course of justice by hiding the knife used during the incident and conspiracy to burgle.  He was sentenced to 19 years imprisonment.

Warren Reid, aged 22, of Seaton Road, Luton was found guilty of conspiracy to rob, causing GBH with intent and doing an act intended to pervert the course of justice by hiding the knife used during the incident.  He had previously admitted conspiracy to burgle.  He was sentenced to 19 years and 9 months imprisonment.

Lorraine Sibley, Jack Sibley's mother and the daughter in law of the victim, aged 48, of Jessop Road, Stevenage was found guilty of doing an act intended to pervert the course of justice by lying to police about cuts on her son's hand, which he had sustained during the incident.  She had claimed he had fallen onto some glass.  She was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment.

The incident was investigated by Hertfordshire Constabulary's specialist unit Operation Manhunt, who investigate distraction burglary, and burglary where the victim is aged 70 or over. The team were able to quickly identify Sibley's involvement and made arrests just a few days later. Upon his arrest Jack Sibley had injuries to his arms which indicated he had been involved in an altercation.

Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: "This case involved the terrifying botched burglary and serious assault of an 82-year-old man in his own home, which could have had far worse consequences.

"Jack Sibley, the victim's grandson, and Warren Reid, Jack Sibley's friend, who were short of money, hatched a plan to steal cash from a safe at the house and even recced the house before the incident to confirm its presence.

"The victim was asleep at home in Cheshunt when he was woken by the sound of intruders.  He equipped himself with a Gurkha knife, which the intruders used against him causing him substantial injuries including the loss of a finger.  They then threw him down the stairs, before brutally assaulting him, leaving him for dead, and fleeing empty handed. The victim lost a considerable amount of blood and it is likely that without timely medical attention he would have bled to death.  It is clear that both men acted together, jointly, to attack the victim and that their intention was to cause him serious harm in order to gain access to the safe in his bedroom.  This was a planned, targeted and violent attack. They are clearly extremely ruthless and dangerous man.

"Both Sibley and Reid admitted carrying out the burglary, but blamed each other for attacking the victim and causing the life changing injuries.  Sibley's mother, Lorraine Sibley, tried to conceal her son's involvement in the incident and lied to police about a hand injury he had sustained.  The jury saw through their lies and found them guilty despite their denials.

"We have worked closely with Hertfordshire Constabulary since this investigation was launched and as a result of the hard work and diligence of the prosecution team, a just outcome has been achieved for the victim.

"Understandably the events on that day have had a significant impact on the victim both physically and psychologically.  Learning that his grandson was one of the offenders was particularly shocking.  I hope that the convictions and sentences will in some way help him to come to terms with the horrifying events with the knowledge that those that subjected him to the terrible ordeal have been brought to justice.  Our thoughts are very much with him at this time."

Detective Sergeant Jon Leak from Operation Manhunt said: "The victim's injuries show a brutal and sustained attack on him. He has been left with life changing injuries, but more importantly the psychological trauma of the events will stay with him for life.

"At the time of the offence Mr Sibley had no idea who the two offenders were and was shocked to learn of their identity.

"Of all my years in policing this case has been particularly shocking, not only because of the pre-planning that Sibley did to burgle his own grandfather, including pre-visits to the property, but also the sheer viciousness of the attack on his own family member and leaving him for dead.  I'd reassure people that these types of incidents do not happen very often in Hertfordshire.

"I am pleased with these convictions and the sentences reflect the gravity of the men's actions that day. Without a doubt these great results were achieved due to the strong evidence gathered by detectives in Operation Manhunt in the planning, execution and aftermath of the offence."