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Mugging gang jailed over terrifying late-night robbery spree



McDonagh and the Parkes brothers on CCTV and the Astra car
From left: Owen Parkes in the white jacket, Dean McDonagh next to him in the baseball cap and Jack Parkes in the black woolly hat; the muggers emptying a victim's bank account; McDonagh filling up the stolen Astra while his captive pays

A gang of muggers have been jailed after carrying out a night-time campaign of violent robberies on lone victims.

Dean McDonagh, 20, and brothers Jack and Owen Parkes targeted men in Manchester city centre during a crime spree in September last year.

The then-teenagers lured victims from bars and terrified them into handing over their valuables by telling them they would be shot or stabbed if they did not.

One man was held up for more than an hour, with items stolen from the series of attacks including a car, mobile phones, wallets, jewellery and watches.

On 20 and 21 September 2019, the robbers struck three times little more than 30 hours apart.

At 2am, Owen Parkes, 18, befriended a first-year university student outside a pub on Princess Street and lured him back to a Vauxhall Astra stolen in a robbery four days earlier.

The muggers then drove the victim to some wasteland outside the city centre, where they beat and threatened him until he handed over his iPhone, wallet and a £400 watch.

At 11pm later the same day, a prolonged robbery was committed against a teacher on a night out in central Manchester.

Once again, the gang enticed the victim to the car with the promise of finding a party. He was then held captive for more than an hour as the gang stopped at various supermarkets, forcing him to make purchases for them on his mobile phone using the contactless facility.

He escaped after Owen Parkes was momentarily distracted buying alcohol at an Asda store.

Several hours later around 6am, McDonagh and Jack Parkes, 20, targeted another drunk student walking along the street who had become separated from his friends.

He was robbed of his rucksack, forced into the car and taunted as a ‘silver-spooned student’ as they withdrew piles of cash from his bank account.

The gang were later caught after the car was stopped by suspicious police officers in Staffordshire.

Yesterday McDonagh was jailed for four years and eight months at Manchester Crown Court after admitting his involvement in at least four robberies.

Jack Parkes was sentenced to three years and nine months in a young offender institution after admitting four counts of robbery, while his younger brother Owen received two years after pleading guilty to three robberies.

Kirsty Walls, Senior Crown Prosecutor, said: “This was a truly terrifying series of robberies committed against lone men on nights out, involving a high degree of planning and intimidation.

“Not content with simply taking property, the gang subjected victims to the prolonged and harrowing ordeal of being held captive while they emptied their bank accounts or made purchases on their cards.

“Although no weapons were ever produced, these men were left in genuine fear of serious harm and many were left traumatised.

“I thank them for their efforts in helping us bring these offenders to justice, which has left our streets much safer as a result.”

The fourth robbery involving McDonagh and the Parkes brothers took place on 16 September 2019, during which they intimidated a man into handing over his keys to the Vauxhall Astra that was used to perpetrate the later attacks.

Building the case

The prosecution arose from Greater Manchester Police’s Operation Valiant, a specialist unit set up to deal with robberies, following a spate of muggings in the city centre last year.

The investigation involved the detailed examination of footage from CCTV cameras across the city centre, which formed the basis of the CPS case.

Ms Walls added: “Operation Valiant is doing fantastic work in tackling crime in Manchester and the CPS is working closely with police colleagues to prevent youth offending escalating into the kinds of serious offences we saw sentenced today.”

Notes to editors

  • Declan McDonagh (D.O.B.: 2/6/2000) pleaded guilty to four counts of robbery and two counts of driving while disqualified on 11 March 2020 at Manchester Crown Court
  • Jack Parkes (D.O.B.: 1/5/2000) pleaded guilty to four counts of robbery on 23 July 2020 at Manchester Crown Court
  • Owen Parkes (D.O.B.: 28/6/2002) pleaded guilty to three counts of robbery on 11 March 2020 at Manchester Crown Court
  • Kirsty Walls is a Senior Crown Prosecutor with CPS North West.

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