Knife gang trio locked up for terror raids after being identified on Facebook
A KNIFE-wielding thug who broke into two homes while high on M-Cat – and prevented his victims from calling an ambulance as one suffered a suspected heart attack – has been jailed for ten years.
Christopher Smith, 25, of Kirkstead Crescent, Grimsby, and his accomplice in the first robbery, Daniel Carrick, 28, of Mallard Mews, were brought to justice after the victims identified them through pictures on Facebook.
Grimsby Crown Court heard Smith had admitted three offences of robbery and another of attempted robbery after taking the drug.
In June the Grimsby Telegraph launched a campaign to highlight the dangers of the illegal drug, and the adverse psychological effects it can have on users, as reported.
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Phillip Evans, prosecuting, said Smith and Carrick had burst into a home in Healing Road, Stallingborough, and aggressively threatened the occupants of the house – including a 79-year-old man.
Smith “bounced up and down”, demanding to know where the safe was, as Carrick also brandished a knife. Smith then warned the father and son, as well as the younger man’s girlfriend, that he would stab them if they moved, demanding they hand over the pensioner’s wallet, which contained about £500 cash.
His son also handed over his wallet and the woman was asked for her purse – which she did not have with her.
The pensioner, who had a history of heart trouble, began to curl over and his son feared that he was having a heart attack.
He tried to call an ambulance for his father, but Smith callously put a knife to his face, swore and told him: “Give me your mobile phone.”
They escaped in the son’s car, but after the family did their own investigation, they discovered their names, looked them up on Facebook, and were able to confirm from pictures posted on the site that they were the two who had robbed them.
Carrick was jailed for six years and nine months, after admitting offences including two of robbery and another of attempted robbery.
In another robbery, Smith and Jarred Brown, 19, of Fairview Avenue, Cleethorpes, left a man terrified after confronting him with knives in the bedroom of his home, in Harold Street, Grimsby, on July 30.
They filled a duvet cover with items, including mobile phones, four laptops, £400 cash, a games console and an iPod, together valued at £1,970.
The raiders left in a taxi for Mallard Mews and even tried to use the stolen iPod to pay the driver, but he handed it over to the police. They were arrested later.
Brown was locked up for three-and-a-half years.
After he was jailed, Smith continued grinning, showing off and playing to the gallery in front of his supporters in court and pretended that he was not bothered about the length of the sentence.
He repeatedly swore at the judge – despite his barrister claiming earlier that he was remorseful – and was given a consecutive three months for contempt of court.
He had also asked for four shoplifting offences to be taken into consideration.
Judge Jeremy Richardson QC told the trio: “It must be made very clear that individuals who enter a private house late at night, threatening the occupants with a knife, particularly where one of the occupants is elderly, and go on to steal property, will receive very substantial sentences.”
The sentence on Carrick also included separate offences of dangerous driving, drink-driving, failing to stop and having no insurance on June 16. He admitted those matters.
He was banned from driving for three years and the car he wrote off after crashing it in to a house, causing £2,100 damage, will be forfeited to go towards paying £300 compensation for an insurance excess.
All three robbers claimed they regretted their actions.
Andrew Bailey, mitigating, said Smith wanted to apologise to the victims, and was “ashamed of himself” and was genuinely remorseful.
He had drunk large amounts of alcohol and had taken the drug M-Cat which, he claimed, changed his character.
Michael Culshaw, representing Carrick, said his client had no previous convictions for violent offences.
Carrick claimed he acted out of character and “would like to apologise profusely”.
Craig Lowe, representing Brown, said his family was “ashamed of him” and he claimed he wanted to wanted to apologise to the victim. He wanted to “make something of his life”.
Drink and drugs were involved and he was “shocked and angry at his own behaviour”.