TWO robbers from Stourport who acted with "breathtaking wickedness" when they subjected a wheelchair-bound double amputee to a terrifying night-time ordeal in his Worcestershire home have been given long terms behind bars.
Daniel Mahoney and Nathan Bradley tore out a phone cable and wrapped it around 63-year-old John Webster's neck and threatened to hang him during the raid in the early hours of April 6 this year. Mr Webster had a knife held to his throat and was slapped around the face before they forced him to give up his pin number and took his bank card to steal £200.
They also frightened him by kicking his 15-year-old dog, Bob, several times, before leaving him helpless and telling him to have more money ready for when they came back, Joanna Barker, prosecuting, told Worcester Crown Court.
When police arrived later, Mahoney, who lived nearby, smashed a window on the locked forensic science van and stole the fingerprints and other evidence they had taken from Mr Webster's home.
Mahoney, 22, of East Road, Stourport, was given nine years for robbery and 16 months consecutively for an act intended to pervert the course of justice, a total of 10 years and four months in jail Bradley, 20, of The Slad, Stourport, was given nine years in a young offenders institution after he admitted robbery.
Miss Barker told the court Mr Webster, who is entirely dependent on daily visits from carers, was in bed when he heard a noise in his ground floor flat. He thought it was his dog but then he saw the silhouettes of two men in his bedroom. He tried to call using the emergency device around his neck but Mahoney and Bradley interrupted and told the operator he was fine. They grabbed him under the arms and hoisted him into his wheelchair. They kept demanding money and he told them he had not got any. He was slapped around the face and a sharp knife from the kitchen held to his throat.
They told him they were going to kill him and then tore out the phone cable and wrapped it around his neck, talking about the mechanics of hanging him and looking up at the ceiling, Miss Barker said.
Bradley took his bank card and details and went away for 30 minutes while Mahoney stayed behind sniffing gas from refill cans and drinking from a bottle of wine, Miss Barker said.
Bradley returned with £200 and they left at 4.30am, taking his iPad, phone and TV and telling him they would be back for more money. Mr Webster was left with no way of calling for help until his carer arrived four hours later and called police.
Adam Western, defending father-of-one Bradley, said he had "lost his head" when he got in the house. He had been taking courses while in custody on remand to establish himself in society on his release.
Jason Aris, for Mahoney, said his record of 33 convictions were mostly for petty offences involving drink and cannabis. He said he had not fully appreciated the extent of what he was doing.
Judge Michael Cullum said it was difficult to imagine a more cowardly act than this robbery.
"You both acted with breathtaking wickedness," he told them. They had used extreme violence far beyond anything necessary after they had targeted a disabled man they both knew. He "must have thought he was going to die there and then" in a terrifying experience he would never forget.