Gang of burglars jailed for 42 years


Five men have today been jailed to a total of 42 years at Warwick Crown Court for their part in carrying out a series of aggravated dwelling house burglaries across the West Midlands, Warwickshire and West Mercia.

Between February 2012 and June 2012, three of the defendants targeted properties across the region from which they stole high value electrical items, a high performance car and some firearms.  All five defendants were involved in two aggravated dwelling house burglaries in June 2012 for which they were armed with an axe and a machete.

At an early hearing, John O'Shaughnessy, aged 25, Paul King, 25, Christopher Hands, 26 and Darren Maxwell-Duffy, 23, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary.  King, Hands and Maxwell-Duffy pleaded guilty to a second count of conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary in which a householder was threatened with a samurai type sword and an axe.  King, Hands and O'Shaughnessy pleaded guilty to a third count of conspiracy to commit dwelling house burglary which encompassed a number of offences.

Following a trial, a fifth man, Mohammed O'Neill, 21, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary in relation to the June 2012 offences.

On 12 June 2012, the gang went first to a property in Hall Green where they confronted the householder with an axe. They then went straight to another house in Earlswood where they broke in armed with an axe and a machete. An untidy search of the property was made with a number of items stolen, including the occupant's gun safe which was abandoned outside when the police arrived.

Maxwell-Duffy was detained at the scene, O'Neill managed to escape from the rear of the property and the other three fled in a stolen Audi RS4, which was later abandoned in a pub car park. King, Hands and O'Shaughnessy got into a taxi to make good their escape, but they were soon arrested by the police.

Martin Lindop, Sector Crown Prosecutor from West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service, said:

"These were five highly dangerous men who, over a five month period last year, terrorised home owners in the West Midlands, Warwickshire and West Mercia.

"It appears that their motive in these crimes was to target either the occupants' high performance cars, which were used to commit further offences, and guns and ammunitions, which the home owners were legally in possession of and kept in the house.

"On the 12 June, their luck ran out when they broke into a home in Birmingham only to be confronted by the occupant who called the police. The gang fled, but the police managed to track them down while they were in the process of another burglary in Solihull and arrest the defendants.

"I would like to take this opportunity of thanking the police for their investigation in this case, as the overwhelmingly evidence in this case meant that four of the five defendants admitted their guilty while the fifth member of the gang was found guilty after a trial."

O'Shaughnessy was sentenced to eight years
King was sentenced to nine years
Hands was sentenced to nine years
Maxwell-Duffy was sentenced to six years
O'Neill was sentenced to 10 years